Deccan Chronicle Holdings Limited, the owner of IPL side Deccan Chargers, is exploring the possibility of selling all or part of the franchise and has appointed an investment banker to search for prospective buyers, ESPNcricinfo has learned. When contacted, a franchise spokesperson declined to comment on the matter, but a person familiar with the development said Religare Capital Markets has been appointed to handle the deal.

Deccan Chargers was bought by the Deccan Chronicle group for US$107 million in the first IPL team auction in 2008. At the time, it was the third-most expensive franchise, after Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore. During the second team auction in 2010, the Pune franchise was sold to the Sahara group for $370 million while the now dissolved Kochi franchise was bought by a consortium for $333 million.

If the owners are successful in finding a buyer, they would be the second in the IPL to sell at least a part of the franchise. In 2009, Rajasthan Royals, then the reigning IPL champions, sold an 11.7% stake in the franchise for approximately $15.4 million to Shilpa Shetty, the Bollywood actress, and her partner Raj Kundra, a UK-based businessman. That put the valuation of the franchise at around $140 million, more than double the $67 million the owners, Emerging Media, paid for it a year ago in 2008.

Led by Adam Gilchrist, the former Australia wicketkeeper, Chargers won the IPL in 2009. They struggled in this season's event, however, finishing eighth out of nine teams and winning just four games under the leadership of Kumar Sangakkara, the former Sri Lanka captain, and Cameron White, the Australia batsman.

Tariq Engineer is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo