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Mumbai: Andrew Marks, the son of Oaktree Capital co-founder Howard Marks, has picked up a significant minority stake in ValueQuest Capital, a public markets fund focussed on India, two people directly aware of the development said.

The size of the investment was not immediately known and requests for comment sent to the Marks family office and ValueQuest remained unanswered until press time.

ValueQuest was founded in 2014 by Paresh Thakkar, a private equity professional, and Sanjay Bakshi, a professor of finance, at Management Development Institute (MDI) Gurgaon.

New York-based Marks is a partner with Freemark Partners, the private investment firm of the Howard Marks family.

Howard Marks is the co-founder of the world’s largest distressed assets firm Oaktree with close to $100 billion of assets under management. Howard Marks is particularly well known for his ‘memos’ to Oaktree clients which outline his views on investing, the markets, and economies much like legendary investor Warren Buffett’s highly awaited annual letter to shareholders.

ValueQuest was sponsored and seeded by Religare Global Asset Management (RGAM), a part of Religare Enterprise, a financial services company promoted by Malvinder and Shivinder Singh, the former owners of Ranbaxy Laboratories.

It was not immediately known if RGAM continues to remain an investor in ValueQuest.

“It’s a strategic investment for the Marks family office as it is already into investing into long-term patient capital into high growth companies across the globe," said the first person.

“For ValueQuest, which currently manages close to $200 million in their public markets fund, the investment could go a long way in attracting new investors."

ValueQuest follows the “moat" investing strategy, which was coined and popularized by Warren Buffet, which essentially refers to a business’s ability to maintain competitive advantages over its peers in order to protect its long-term profits and markets from the competing firms. It’s akin to a moat built around a business ‘castle’ which prevents competitors from attacking it.

Given their impressive performance, public equities are increasingly gaining favour with private equity fund managers as many of them have left their respective organizations to set up their public equities funds.

For many prominent private equity funds, private investment in public equity (PIPE) has emerged as a key component of the portfolio. Some of the funds pursuing a similar investing style as that of ValueQuest include Westbridge Capital, which manages over $2 billion and Nalanda Capital founded by Warburg Pincus India head Pulak Prasad, which according to a recent Economic Times report is looking to raise over $600 million for its new fund, which according to the newspaper will take Nalanda’s corpus to about $1.5 billion.

Mint reported in January that Indian companies have raised a record Rs67,147 crore in 2017 through initial public offerings (IPOs), with 36 companies, including India’s biggest insurance companies, going public.

Last year’s fundraising is 89% more than the previous record of Rs37,534 crore reported in 2010, which market experts attributed to factors, that include a resilient Indian economy and strong domestic liquidity coming into equities contributed to the buoyant market for IPOs.

Last year, both benchmark indices, Sensex and Nifty, have touched new highs on multiple occasions outperforming many other global markets.

On 11 January, both Sensex and Nifty closed at fresh life-time highs at 34,503.49 points and 10,651.20 points respectively on optimism surrounding corporate earnings amid mixed global cues, Mint reported.

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