JSW Group, an $11 billion conglomerate with interests ranging from steel to power, is shelving plans to buy a cricket team in the Indian Premier League (IPL), citing the “negative aura” of the corruption-hit competition.
Domestic media had reported that JSW, controlled by billionaire Sajjan Jindal, was in talks with British beverages group Diageo Plc to buy United Spirits Ltd’s stake in the Royal Challengers Bangalore cricket club in a $100 million deal. Some of India’s biggest companies have invested in the IPL.
In an interview on Wednesday, Parth Jindal, son of Sajjan Jindal and the family member who oversees the conglomerate’s sports interests, told Reuters a cricket deal was off the table for now as the brand risk of owning a team was “too high”, even if some are turning a profit.
“I think it’s a ‘No’ at this point of time, purely based on the whole negative aura that has been generated,” he said. “We don’t want our brand to be associated with a league that is so tainted at the moment.”
While the IPL has a brand value estimated at $3.5 billion and has featured most of the world’s best cricketers, corruption allegations have dogged it for years. In the latest twist, a panel set up by the country’s top court recommended suspending two teams, one of them owned by India Cements, for two years following a graft scandal.
Shares in India Cements, owner of the Chennai Super Kings IPL franchise, have fallen nearly 7 per cent since then.