RCB quash rumours of change in ownership

Royal Challengers management says Diageo buying stakes in United Spirits won’t affect company’s control over IPL team.



New Delhi: With Vijay Mallya’s United Spirits Ltd (USL) striking a deal to sell a 27.4 per cent stake to UKbased Diageo, rumours were afloat that he may lose control over the Indian Premier League franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).

But those speculations have been dismissed by Prakash Mirpuri, vice president, corporate communications.

Speaking to MAIL TODAY, he made it clear that at present, there is no such plan in place.

“Royal Challenger Sports is a 100 per cent subsidiary of United Sports Ltd, which is a public company and will remain a listed entity. No change in the ownership or management of Royal Challengers is expected,” he said.

A senior official from Diageo, the world’s biggest liquor maker, had presented a completely different angle, hinting that Mallya would also lose his prized possession — RCB.

“The cricket team is currently held in a wholly-owned subsidiary of United Spirits. We would anticipate that this ownership structure and the related sponsorship would continue,” he had said.

While it is believed that the deal between Diageo and USL could be consummated only in the second half of next year, a change in ownership in the IPL franchise will definitely need the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) permission.

According to Indian Premier League commissioner Rajeev Shukla, if and when an owner decides to sell off majority stakes, the BCCI has to be informed in advance and its approval is necessary.

“Selling percentage shares isn’t wrong because it’s a form of profit-making and every businessman has the right to earn profit from their ventures. The BCCI has no role in it and doesn’t feel necessary to be involved,” he told MAIL TODAY. “But the moment majority stakes are being sold and there is a change in ownership, permission has to be acquired from the board and only after a go-ahead from the board can any owner sell off majority stakes.”

At present, change in ownership of RCB would be the last thing on both parties’ minds as firstly the two companies have to acquire regulatory clearances in the UK and India before the completion of the deal.

USL will also have to get the go-ahead from the Competition Commission of India (CCI) besides the market’s supervisory body — SEBI.

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