Mumbai: ASK Group is aiming for a valuation of more than $1 billion as it looks to become the first investment and wealth management firm to launch an initial public offering (IPO), said three people aware of the development.

“ASK is targeting a valuation of around 7,000-8,000 crore (approximately $1-1.2 billion) for the IPO," said one of the people cited above, requesting anonymity as he is not authorized to speak to reporters.

“They are looking to soon file their draft prospectus with the market regulator. They could file as early as next month," the person said.

Investment banking firms JM Financial, Citi, Nomura and Axis Capital are advising the Mumbai-based company, he added.

A second person cited above, who also requested anonymity, pegged the size of the IPO at around $250 million.

“The IPO will largely be an offer for sale by private equity investor Advent. ASK might raise a small amount of fresh capital for business expansion," the person said.

Mint had reported in April that ASK Group had started working on an IPO.

ASK, backed by private equity firm Advent International, offers products and services in wealth and investment management to affluent families.

The group was started in 1983 by Asit Koticha and Sameer Koticha. It also operates in real estate investment and private equity.

Advent acquired a 40% stake in ASK in 2016 for $130 million. It held a 49.6% stake in the group as of end-March 2017, according to filings with the registrar of companies.

ASK, Advent and Citi declined to comment.

JM Financial, Nomura and Axis Capital did not respond to emails seeking comment.

ASK joins a slew of financial services companies that are looking to tap the public markets to raise funds and provide exit routes to their private equity investors.

Financial services companies that are working on initial share sales include microfinance lender Spandana Sphoorty Financial Ltd, Standard Chartered private equity-backed Northern Arc Capital, CreditAccess Grameen Ltd, Arohan Financial Services Ltd and Muthoot Microfin Ltd, mortgage lender Aavas Financiers Ltd, HDFC Group’s mutual fund business HDFC Asset Management Co. Ltd and several others.

The wealth manager increased its consolidated revenue to 323.16 crore during 2016-17 from 219.1 crore in the previous year, according to filings with the registrar of companies.

Its profit grew to 57.13 crore from 28.57 crore in the same period.

ASK, which started out with offering stock broking services in 1983, branched out into wealth management in 2007 with ASK Wealth Advisors. In 2009, the group started its real estate private equity business under ASK Property Investment Advisors. In 2011, it formed a private equity joint venture—ASK Pravi—with Pravi Capital.

The group today has 10 offices in India, and one each in Dubai, Africa and Singapore.

As of September 2017, ASK managed assets worth approximately 37,311 crore (approximately $5.8 billion).

A total of 18 companies raised 23,451.59 crore through the IPO route until June, while in 2017, 36 companies raised 67,147.1 crore through IPOs, data from primary market tracker Prime Database shows.

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