Nazara Technologies has raised an investment of INR 180 from Rakesh Jhunjhunwala. The big funding comes close on the heels of INR 330 crore investment the Chhota Bheem and Virat Cricket-fame e-gaming company has received from the IIFL Special Opportunities Fund last month. The latest investment has raised the total investment for India’s leading e-gaming platform to INR 540 over a span of three weeks.
Nazara reportedly is targeting an IPO by mid-2018. Jhunjhunwala’s investment is expected to give a big boost to the company’s upcoming public offering. Nazara is expecting a valuation of INR 3,000-3,500 crore.
Nazara’s net profit in the financial year 2017 stands at INR 66 crores. The company, which has been making profit for the past ten years, has a gross customer billings of INR 550 crore in 2017. The sustained profitability has attracted the latest investment from Jhunjhunwala, who has in the past been uncertain about business models and valuations of Indian e-commerce and digital companies.
“I am always on the lookout for promising companies which are leaders in high-growth verticals. Nazara has a consistent track record of delivering profits, cash flows, along with efficient use of capital and high RoE. I see growth potential in the company,” Jhunjhunwala has told The Economic Times.
“The investment (from Jhunjhunwala) is from a 5-10 year long-term perspective and it is great to have strong hands like Jhunjhunwala who have staying power and don’t have a need to sell based on short-term issues,” ET has quoted Nazara founder Nitish Mittersain as saying.
Over the past decade, Nazara has expanded to 74 countries as a publisher, diversifying its revenues across Africa and the Middle East as well. The company’s plan for an IPO comes at a time when it is looking to expand from its focus on casual mobile gaming to become a broader ecosystem player.
In February, ET reported that Nazara Games was committed to invest INR 136 crore in its eSports venture over the next five years.
According to a FICCI-KPMG report last year, India’s mobile gaming market is expected to expand from $200 million in 2016 to $3 billion in 2019.