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Zia family‘s Delta Corp buys online poker site Adda52 for $27m • AZB, Khaitan Co, Gaggar advise

"In what could be termed as the biggest news in the gaming industry this year, Delta Corp Ltd., India’s largest gaming and hospitality company announced its foray into the online gaming space in a regulatory filing to the stock exchanges. In its note to the stock exchanges and shareholders, Delta Corp informed its intention to acquire 26% shares in Gauss Networks Pvt. Ltd., the holding company which owns and operates Adda52.com and is saide to be the market leader in the online poker space in India,” reported gaming industry law blog GLaws.

According to VCCircle and others, the cash and stock deal values Gaussian at around Rs 182 crore ($27m) in total, and is expected to close by June 2017.

AZB & Partners partner Ashwath Rau acted for Delta Corp, with a team of senior associates Kashish Bhatia, Aditi Singhvi and Devina Deshpande, and associates Pranav Atit and Karishma Muravne.

Khaitan & Co Bangalore partners Ganesh Prasad and Sharad Moudgal, assisted by senior associate Sanjay Khan Nagra, acted for Gauss Networks, which owns Adda52.com. Khaitan partners Bijal Ajinkya and Vinita Krishnan assisted on tax issues.

Gaggar & Associates managing partner Vaibhav Gaggar also acted for Gauss, as well as its promoters.

Delta: A family concern

Delta, which has a market capitalisation of more than $500m according to Bloomberg, currently owns three of around five licensed and operational floating river-boat-based casinos off Goa’s capital city Panjim, as well as a hotel in Daman and other interests related to gaming and hospitality.

In 2010, when Mint reported that billionaire investment guru Rakesh Jhunjhunwala picked up 11% in Delta Corp for Rs 200 crore, AZB Mumbai managing partner Zia Mody held a 36 per cent stake in Delta Corp together with her husband Jaydev Mody, who held around 12 per cent.

By December 2010, according to Bombay Stock Exchange filings, Zia Mody’s stake was 29.8 per cent, with Jaydev Mody at 9.7 per cent.

However, by March 2011, the Mody family’s holdings seem to have been restructured, with Zia personally not holding any Delta shares directly.

Instead, three companies - Aryanish Finance and Investments Private Limited, Bayside Property Developers Private Limited, and Delta Real Estate Consultancy Private Limited - then each held 14.56 per cent stakes in Delta Corp.

Each of the three companies’ directors include Jaydev Mody, and, since July 2015, Zia’s brother Hormazd Soli Sorabjee, according to public company records.

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