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SBD Global/October 3, 2013/Finance

FidelisWorld Founder Anand Krishnan Talks Investment Strategies

FidelisWorld, the Dubai-based sports, media and entertainment group, "has entered into private equity" with the launch of FW Sports Investment Fund LP, the first of its kind PE fund in the sports and sports ancillary space, according to Reghu Balakrishnan of the Indian BUSINESS STANDARD. FW "has announced a first close with raising about" $100M. Former JP MorganChase Managing Dir ANAND S. KRISHNAN "had set up FidelisWorld" after he retired as CEO of Dubai-based PE firm Dubai Int'l Capital in '11. Krishnan spoke to Reghu Balakrishnan on the "rationale behind new fund and investment strategies."

Q: What was the rationale behind launching an exclusive fund in area of sports?
Anand S. Krishnan: We have always felt that the sports industry in the region, and this means all businesses involved in servicing sport, has been largely untouched by the forces of organized investment and corporate practices. Our thesis has always been to look at creating an ecosystem around such companies where the growth of one can leverage the growth of the other, introduce best practices and proper governance, and apply a level of strategic and financial engineering in order to help these companies compete globally and create value.

Q: What are the investment strategies -- areas and size of investments?
Krishnan: Areas of investment are, for the large part, in any sports-related company that can make money regardless of whether a team is winning or losing. We are not hunting valuations, rather we are looking for value.

Q: There are premium leagues being played in cricket, football and badminton etc. Will these funds be used for investments in teams?
Krishnan: This is not our primary focus. As discussed, we are looking for businesses that have underlying fundamentals beyond valuations built on intangibles such as brand value and hype. We are uncomfortable in general with businesses that rely too heavily on sponsorship as a source of income.

Q: Is there any specific allocation for India? And how do you see India as an investment destination?
Krishnan: I think India is a medium to long term story despite rough weather in the short term. We do not have a specific allocation for India, but our investment geography encompasses South and Southeast Asia and the West Asia, in which India is a major market that we cannot ignore (BUSINESS STANDARD, 10/2).
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