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Nazara IPO: 49 million active users; 32% of revenue came from esports in H1FY21

Nazara Technologies’ initial public offering will open from March 17-19, at an issue price of Rs 1100-1101 per share. The IPO comprises an offer for sale of up to 5.29 million equity shares by promoters and shareholders, the company announced today. The promoter holdings will stand at 21.6% post IPO. A month ago, Nazara had raised Rs. 100 crore from Instant Growth Limited, which is advised by Hornbill Capital Advisers LLP, an investment vehicle of North America based limited partners of Hornbill Orchid India Fund.

Nazara had filed a draft red herring prospectus with SEBI in January. Founded in 2000 by Nitish Mittersain, Nazara operates in e-sports gaming and content, mobile gaming, and has recently entered gamified learning and real-money gaming, including fantasy sports gaming. Its operations are spread across India, South Asia, North America, and Africa.

Key operational metrics 

  • Nazara Average MAUs: 49.25 million, 22.6% growth from FY20 
  • Nodwin registered users: 6.9 million, with over 80% market share 
  • eSports Media Average MAUs: 29.43 million, 65.4% growth from FY20 
  • Gamified e-Learning Paid subscribers: 290,508 

From Nazara’s presentation on Friday

Revenue breakup in H1FY21 

  • E-sports: 31.78%
  • Gamified Early Learning: 39.24%
  • Freemium: 4.50%
  • Skill-based, fantasy, real money gaming: 3.14%
  • Telecom subscription: 21.33%

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Nazara’s business was two-fold: it accelerated gaming uptake worldwide, resulting in many first-time gamers who had been sitting on the fence. In any case, interactive social gaming is a secular trend despite COVID-19. At the same time, though some parts of the business benefitted, other sectors that depend on live sports suffered. The overall impact of COVID019 was neutral to slightly positive, Nitish Mittersain, joint managing director said on a press conference on Friday. 

Nazara is a content creator and creates its own in-house IPs in World Cricket Championship, Kiddopia,  Sportskeeda, Nodwin Gaming, and HalaPlay and Qunami in real money gaming, among others. “The cost of content does not increase as much, and the only cost really is marketing,” Manish Agarwal, CEO, said. 

Real money gaming made up 3% of the company’s H1FY21 revenue. The real money gaming segment has not grown larger not because it does not have the potential, but because of the lack of regulatory clarity on judicial, state laws, and GST issues, the company said. “Once the clarity emerges, we will be able to figure what we want to do with this segment, Manish Agarwal said on the call. 

Pricing of issue at this level, given recent losses: The core DNA of company is to run a profitable business. However, since 2015, the company had to change gears to ensure that it remains at the forefront, Mittersain said. Ever since it has done acquisitions, which has brought intangibles on the balance sheet, but while maintaining EBITDA margins. Loss at PAT level comes from depreciation of intangible assets from the acquisitions.  

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Krafton funding: The e-sports market in India is going to grow very large. The partnership with Krafton does not simply have to do with PUBG, but is aimed at having a long-term, deeper partnership, Nitish Mittersain said on the call. There has been “no conversation” on what this deal means for PUBG in India, he added. Instead, the point is to leverage Krafton’s understanding of the e-sports space in emerging markets, he said. 

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