Rakesh Jhunjhunwala turns from online skeptic to hopeful investor with Rs 180 crore Nazara stake
Ace investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala has picked up equity stake worth Rs 180 crore in Mumbai-based gaming startup Nazara. Frequently referred to as India’s Warren Buffett, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala had earlier stayed away from the e-commerce and digital space in India, citing concerns over valuations, business models and a lack of cash flows. “Most of the big companies globally have been built from the profit of cash flow and not investors’ money. I would like to see online companies with a profitable model and there isn’t any. I will believe in it when they sell at an economic price,” Rakesh Jhunjhunwala had pointed out in Retail Leadership Summit last year.
Further, the ace investor had quipped, “I will consider buying Flipkart’s stake if it is valued at $100 million.” Interestingly, in its latest quarterly report, Valic Co has marked down Flipkart’s valuation slightly to about $7.9 billion—which is way below the $11.6 billion valuation at which Flipkart raised funds earlier this year.
So what’s making him bullish on Nazara? “I am always on the lookout for promising companies which are leaders in high growth verticals. Nazara is a leading company in the mobile games business. Nazara has a consistent track record of delivering profits, cash flows, along with efficient use of capital and high ROE. I see a growth potential in the company,” Rakesh Jhunjhunwala said. The investment in Nazara helped the Mumbai-based company raise Rs 540 crore in the past three weeks.
“We are delighted to have Rakesh Jhunjhunwala as an investor in Nazara and it is a great validation of value augmentation delivered by Nazara for its existing shareholders,” Nitish Mittersain, Managing Director of Nazara Technologies said. The development is also seen to give a heads up to Nazara’s upcoming IPO scheduled for the middle of next year.
Nazara Technologies was Founded in 2000 by Nitish Mittersain. It serves as an exclusive distributor for key game developers such as Electronic Arts. Apart from Mumbai, the company has offices in Dubai, London, Africa and Singapore. And has its operations in 61 countries across emerging markets. In India, Nazara has licensed mobile gaming rights to popular IPs like Virat Kohli, Hrithik Roshan, Chhota Bheem and Royal Challengers Bangalore among others.
According to a recent KPMG report, the online gaming industry in India is estimated to be worth over $360 million and is poised to grow and reach $1 Tn by 2021, the industry will likely reach more than 310 million gamers around the country. The immense potential of the segment and provided a way for a lot of startups to explore.