The bidders include three funds, a couple of consortiums, three companies and three individuals.
Prominent among the bidders is gaming company Nazara Technologies and investment funds backed by Capri Global, Amicus Capital and Alpha Capital, people familiar with the matter said.
Some unknown consortiums named Property Ventures and OP Jain and Co have also expressed interest, these people said. Names of all interested parties could not be ascertained.
“These parties have made the cut based on the Rs 50 crore networth criteria and undertakings shared by them. A data room will now be opened to them later this week following which there will be a one-month timeframe to submit final resolution plans,” said a person familiar with the process.
This is the third time EoIs have been called for from prospective bidders after the first two processes were scrapped amidst litigation by previous promoter Shripal Morakhia.Gaming company Nazara has submitted its interest all three times. Creditors are hopeful that unlike last two times the process will be taken to its logical conclusion this time.”Nazara has shown its interest again and again and we have other bidders too. The litigation around the company has been taken care of so we expect things to pan out positively this time,” said a second person aware of the process.
In November, the Mumbai bench of the NCLT annulled the change of ownership of the “SMAAASH” brand, calling it a “fraudulent” transaction by promoter Morakhia. The court had directed that the brand be transferred back to SEPL.
To be sure, Morakhia has challenged the order in the appellate tribunal, though creditors are confident that the strong NCLT order will not be overruled by the tribunal.
The company owes creditors led by Edelweiss ARC Rs 452 crore. Other lenders to the company are Yes Bank, Sidbi and Mabella Investment Advisors. It was admitted to bankruptcy in May 2022.
RP Bhrugesh Amin has listed gaming machines, go-kart, bowling alleys and other entertainment devices located across 13 centres as assets. SEPL had revenues of Rs 118 crore at the end of March 2023 and has 480 employees. Amin and lead creditor Edelweiss ARC did not reply to an email seeking comment.
The transfer of the brand was a major impediment in finding a buyer as previous EoIs were contingent on the brand being retained. Creditors expect the value of the company which is an ongoing entity to increase due to clarity on the brand ownership.
(You can now subscribe to our Economic Times WhatsApp channel)