Swashbuckling West Indian opening batsman Chris Gayle has invested an undisclosed amount in IONA Entertainment to bring one-stop entertainment to Indian sports fans, which includes state-of-the-art virtual gaming. Speaking to reporters here, Gayle said he is a family man and loved to be associated with IONA, which is a family-oriented firm with potential to grow into a big business. He also said India is his top priority in terms of investment destinations and wanted to invest as many businesses as possible. Iona, at present, has one 70,000 square-feet gaming venue at Virginia Mall here. It had raised an initial round of funding from Singapore-based Vestasia.
Replying to a query, CMD at Virginia Mall Company B Ramaswamy said IONA has chalked out a Rs 200-crore expansion plan in the first phase.”Rs 200 crore is just a phase one investment. We need to invest more, and partners coming in like Chris Gayle and Vestasia further strengthens our brand in the quest to become a global player,” she said. Asked what percentage of Rs 200 crore has Gayle invested in the venture, Ramaswamy said, “I have two answers for that. One is Chris Gayle cannot be valued. Two, the brand is young, for we had launched the brand just about a month ago.” Ramaswamy said the company is still in talks with Gayle and other stakeholders about business modalities.
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Ramaswamy said the company is still in talks with Gayle and other stakeholders about business modalities.”Lot of paperwork, valuations among other things needs to be worked out. We will come back on it once all the modalities are finished,” she said. IONA Founder Subramanian said the company has big plans and intend to set up gaming zones in different parts of the country and make its presence felt abroad. “We are planning to expand pan-India and by the end of the year, we are looking at having five more centres in India and two abroad,” he said.