Nazara Technologies Limited, the social gaming and eSports company, has its eyes set on expansion into real money. According to a report in the Economic Times, the firm is reportedly shopping several companies in the real-money gaming industry in Africa and India. The moves come ahead of the company’s planned public market entry scheduled for early next year.
Nazara is backed by WestBridge Capital and Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, IIFL, two large investment firms. The company is said to be in discussions with at least four entities in Africa and India to acquire several properties. Nazara will reportedly spend between $6.77 million and $10.01 million for the acquisitions, which could take place as soon as the end of October.
The company is already involved in fantasy sports, having invested in the Halaplay fantasy sports portal. It has also expressed interest in getting into real-money action through games such as poker and rummy. Nazara is also a financial backer of companies such as Mastermind Sports, Crossgate Solutions, NODWIN and Moong Labs.
This past June, Nazara made a small step into Africa when it invested in NZWorld Kenya Ltd., a sports gambling operation in the African nation. That investment saw Nazara pick up 70% of the company.
Some reports have indicated that online gaming in India has turned into big business. The industry is worth just under $600 million and is expected to grow at an annual compounded rate of more than 22% between now and 2023.
Nazara is reportedly anticipating going public in February of next year. The move into real-money gaming is seen as a logical progression for the firm and comes after courts in Indian defined fantasy sports as a skill activity. As such, it is not governed by the country’s gambling laws and this has led to fantasy sports receiving widespread adoption.
The company’s public offering will be overseen by India-based ICICI Securities and Edelweiss Financial Services and is expected to attract just under $135 million. Nazara will be the first company in the gaming space in India to go public and, if successful, will provide a windfall for WestBridge. If everything goes according to plan, the firm could see a return of 75-80 times its investment.