Lakshmi Mittal to join Mukesh Ambani, Vijay Mallya in IPL owners’ club

The not-so-profitable teams in the cash-rich Indian Premier League seem to be attracting investor interest from top corporates. It is now learnt that steel magnate L N Mittal is keen on a stake in the GMR-owned Delhi Daredevils, while the RPG Group seem to have set their eyes on the jointly owned Kings XI Punjab.

Delhi Daredevils, like most teams in the tournament, have not had a smooth sail, both on and off the field. On the field they have failed to produce consistent results with their last year being the worst of the lot. Off the field they are not doing great financially.

It will be interesting to see whether Mittal, who already holds a stake in the English Premier League club Queens Park Rangers, actually goes ahead with the deal, which is learnt to be negotiated by his son-in-law Amit Bhatia. Even at Queens Park Rangers, Mittal is only a silent investor and day-to-day operations are handled by Amit. The investment in football didn’t fetch encouraging results as the team was relegated from the Premier League earlier this year.

Kings XI Punjab, a team which has continued to register losses, bettered its performance to a certain extent last year. However, the team is still struggling to achieve break even. Off the field, the team has had everything from affair to break ups, while on the field it has had to fight off the bad press that followed the infamous Harbhajan-Sreesanth slapgate.

This is not the first time that Kings XI Punjab have been in the news for off-loading their stakes, jointly owned by Ness Wadia, Preity Zinta and Mohit Burman. There were reports in 2010 about Wadia and Zinta willing to sell their stakes. This, however, didn’t happen and Zinta continued to bring her charming smile and overflowing emotions to the dugout. We will have to wait till April to see whether KXIP’s most cheerful cheerleader will continue to be present on ground.

Incidentally, it is learnt that Kolkata Knight Riders, jointly owned by Shah Rukh Khan and Jai Mehta, as well Rajasthan Royals is on the radar of investors.Shah Rukh is unlikely to off load his stake has he had earlier made it very clear that he feared it would set a bad example for his kids. The Rajathan Royals on the other hand has already set a bad example and it won’t be surprising if Manoj Badale of Emerging Media, actor Shilpa Shetty and her businessman husband are looking for more shoulder to bear the financial burden.