The Indian Premier League (IPL) is now in the "middle overs", and, by all accounts, is already a massive hit. If there was a question mark, it was over how the eight franchise owners-among them such big names of India Inc. as Mukesh Ambani, Vijay Mallya, Ness Wadia and others-and Sony Entertainment Television (SET), the official broadcaster, would recover their investments. It now seems that most franchisees, bar one or two, will begin to earn profits by next year, and SET can expect to earn a Rs 1,000-crore profit over the period of its 10-year contract with IPL. In short, IPL has become a big business, with little downside risk. Analysts expect valuations to start soaring from next year onwards.
Little wonder then that several large investors- among them ICICI Venture and Deutsche Bank-are waiting in the wings to buy out, or, at least, buy into, one or more of the franchisees who may want to dilute their holdings.
For our cover story, Will cricket's new czars make money?, Associate Editor Shamni Pande and Assistant Editor Tejeesh N.S. Behl spent more than a week talking to franchisees, media buyers, advertisers, private equity players, stock market research firms and other stakeholders and put together, for the first time, indicative profit & loss accounts for the franchisees to determine when each of them would break even.
The Indian IT sector is being buffeted by the winds of the US slowdown and all companies are rolling out their Plan Bs to counter this. Wipro Chairman Azim Premji has appointed long-time Wipro hands Suresh Vaswani and Girish Paranjpe as co-CEOs to unify the company's domestic and international IT businesses and cross-leverage competencies. Will this risky strategy work? Assistant Editor Rahul Sachitanand spoke to Premji, the two co-CEOs and experts within and outside Wipro to find out. Read about it in Two to tango. Meanwhile, the government has banned futures trading in four more commodities to tame the inflation monster, despite the Abhijit Sen Committee, set up to study the impact of futures trading in commodities on their spot prices, finding no connection between the two. This is a blatantly populist move, driven more by the desire to be seen to be doing something about the issue in a year packed with assembly elections than by any expectation of actually succeeding. Read Commodities Ban: Will it Help?. This issue also has our annual listing of India's 20 Most Wired Companies, featuring the country's most IT-savvy companies.