New Delhi: US-based private equity firm Advent International said on Wednesday it has acquired a minority stake in financial services firm ASK Group but did not give details of the deal.
Founders of ASK Group, an investment and wealth management company, will retain a controlling stake and continue to lead the business.
While Advent International did not mention the quantum of stake and deal amount, an official involved in the transaction on conditions of anonymity said that Advent has acquired a 40% stake in ASK group for around $130 million.
The deal is the first investment made by the PE firm from its new $13 billion global private equity fund GPE VIII. In March, Advent International—which had $29 billion worth of assets under management at the end of 2015—completed raising $13 billion for its latest fund.
It would also be its third investment in India in the last two years after it acquired stakes in Crompton Greaves Consumer Electricals Ltd and QuEST Global Services.
“This partnership will enable ASK Group to scale up its existing business, and explore new business opportunities domestically and internationally," Sunil Rohokale, managing director and chief executive of ASK Group said.
The group was looking to build an international franchise for Indian investment opportunities focusing on institutional investors and family offices, Rohokale added.
“With Advent joining hands, it only strategically helps ASK to expand our international operations because Advent is a $40 billion global fund and they have a substantial knowledge, ability and skill to raise capital from institutions, which are global in nature. Now, ASK is India centric fund manager, and hence taking help of Advent as a partner internationally to raise India centric money is all this partnership all about...We will be focusing on making investment only in India, but we will be raising capital throughout the globe. Focus will mostly be on Asia, Middle East, Europe and US," he added.
“With its deep sector expertise and global resources, Advent can bring significant value to help us increase productivity, broaden our range of services and expand our international presence," said Asit Koticha, chairman and founder of ASK Group.
Founded in 1983, ASK is a diversified financial services group and provides a range of services including wealth advisory, private equity investing, real estate private equity investing and portfolio management services.
ASK manages assets of more than Rs29,480 crore ($4.4 billion) across seven offices in India and has offices in Dubai and Singapore catering to its international investor base.
“ASK has well-respected investment managers, and we believe it is strongly positioned to enhance the value it offers to customers by expanding its reach, products and services. We look forward to working with ASK’s management team to pursue these growth opportunities," said Shweta Jalan, managing director and head of India for Advent International.
On 20 October, Mint reported that ASK Property Investment Advisors, the private equity arm of ASK Group, is raising a Rs2,000 crore special situations fund from domestic and foreign investors to invest in residential projects.
The ASK Real Estate Special Situations Fund, which falls under Category II AIF (alternative investment fund), will raise about Rs1,000 crore each from domestic and offshore investors and offer capital in the form of preferred equity to developers.
Advent has significant experience in the financial services sector and has invested in around 40 companies in sub-sectors such as payments, insurance and consumer finance over the past 25 years. The firm has been investing in India since 2007 and opened an office in Mumbai in 2009.
Moelis & Co. served as exclusive financial advisor and Shardul Amarchand served as legal advisor to ASK Group on the transaction. Nomura served as exclusive financial advisor and Cyril Amarchand served as legal advisor to Advent International.
In an interaction with Mint on 3 October (bit.ly/2hUbK8o), Jan Janshen, managing partner at Advent International, said that the company wouldn’t mind putting $1 billion at work in India.
“We invest at a sensible valuation with a sensible governance in place and I wouldn’t mind putting a billion at work in India. We have a global $13 billion fund, so there is no reason why we wouldn’t put a billion at work in Mumbai," he said.
Investments made by Advent include those in QuEST, a global engineering solutions provider; Care Hospitals, a tertiary care hospital chain in the country; and Computer Age Management Services (CAMS), a provider of business process outsourcing services to the asset management industry.