CLOSE-IN: A significant comparison between the stock market and the IPL

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There is a comparable similarity between the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the stock market. The millions of followers, who throng both these, all wish to back a winner. The chance of success by investing in stocks and now in the fantasy games made popular through the IPL, is what keeps the masses of people engrossed and interested.

Both the IPL and the stock market are run by a handful of people who control the ups and downs that determine the luck of the people who follow them.

Like the IPL, the market too has its legends and stars whose moves are followed with intense seriousness. They are the masters of their domain. One looks at following their success.

The IPL auction of players is similar to the share prices in many ways. Valuation is the name of the game. The young stars are like the start-ups, whose abnormal valuation at times seems quite questionable, but forecasting their potential is the numbers game.

During the launch of an IPO, similar to that of the players' auction, a flood of interest is generated and one wonders whether the price and the demand is sustainable. However, it does make some of them instantly famous and wealthy.

The initial placements of the IPOs are like the performance of the players, which is analysed at the end of the season. The market value of some of them shrinks, whereas, many of the unknown stocks shine.

Rules and regulations are put in place for both the IPL and the stock market. Insider trading and match fixing seems to somehow emerge even with strict security in place. Greed, as they say, has no limits. Gambling is a dreaded word that haunts both the sport and the business world.

The success of the IPL is very much based on the uncertainty of the game of limited-overs cricket, while the insider trading seems to be the buzz word where the stock exchange is concerned.

It is interesting to note how the 10 IPL owners tend to have a correlation on the share and business market of India.

The most sought after and valued company in all respects is the Reliance group. In the IPL, the Mumbai Indians (MI) have been the most successful team and it is owned by them. The performance of MI has consistently been the best and, even when one visualises they may fail, they seem to find their way to the top. Both in business and cricket, Reliance has shown to be a successful bet.

Cement has always been a strong ingredient in the growing construction market of India. India Cements, the owners of the Chennai Super Kings, are no different. They have been the second-most consistent side in the IPL. The company and the IPL side are filled with old and loyal individuals who seem to give their last ounce of sweat to keep them always in the hunt to win the title.

The Jindals of Delhi, the Marans of Hyderabad, the Daburs of Punjab and the new entrant from Lucknow, the Sanjeev Goenka group, are the other business groups who have kept the market afloat but are still to taste the ultimate fruit of success.

Each one of their companies is flourishing in their respective segments. These family-owned corporate houses are all forceful bidders at the auction and one is pleased to see that they are strongly supported by their next inline young brigade.

To create a winning outfit, these young scions of the family, many of whom are educated abroad, bring in a touch of innovation and progressive thinking in their approach.

The likes of Preity Zinta, as well as Shah Rukh Khan and Juhi Chawla, the owners of Kolkata Knight Riders, bring the spotlight on to the tinsel world. This is very similar to the likes of the stock market star, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, whose every move is followed blindly. Their success story is what brings to the table millions of fan following and investors and this is what gives both the market and the IPL the flavour of glamour and hope. KKR has had success similar to their very owners. A few super-hits to boast about and performance of not much significance, thereafter.

The 'King of good times', Vijay Mallya, brought a royal and rich image to the IPL. His presence was gigantic and, like his image, he controlled his franchise and everything around it as if it were his personal domain.

Harshad Mehta, the notorious stock broker, too became the darling of the stock-broking world. However, both these super individuals fell prey to their own greed and fame. Royal Challengers Bangalore have many successful brands in their distillery portfolio as well as amongst their cricket stars. However, success seems to elude them as the weight of their top-class known performers seem to overshadow the rest of the team.

The IPL has a foreign touch to it as well. The successful entrepreneur from the United Kingdom, Manoj Badale, under the banner of Rajasthan Royals, was the one to strike gold. Winning the first IPL, paying the least amount to win a place amongst the mighty of the Indian Industry, was a surprise in itself.

He brought into the fray Shane Warne, and later Shilpa Shetty, to make his franchise an exciting one to follow. The Royals grew to become the team that seemed to encourage young entrepreneurs. They helped in making them into valuable assets similar to the newly-acquired stocks that create fortunes for their backers.

This years IPL has seen the entry of a foreign investor in CVC Capital Partners, the owners of the Gujarat Titans. They outbid one of India's fastest-growing company, the Adani Group, to get a place in the Indian Premier League.

CVC are known to have invested heavily in promoting volleyball, rugby, motor racing and their presence will bring in a completely new perspective, one feels, to the IPL. They, similar to the foreign investing companies who flourish investing in the Indian stock market, will create wealth and valuation before they exit.

The Bombay stock market index in 2008 was hovering around the 15,000 mark and, like the IPL, has grown to 60,000 at present. One does see a similarity in the way both these institutions are climbing to the unknown peak of success.

(Yajurvindra Singh is a former India cricketer)

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