Taj and Trident favourite sites of PE, venture capital firms

Taj and Trident favourite sites of PE, venture capital firms

Mumbai: Gautam Patel, a partner at the India arm of Boston-based venture capital (VC) firm Battery Ventures, was on a conference call in his office at the Trident hotel when terrorists attacked it. The executive and his colleagues were trapped for at least 90 minutes before they could get out.

The incident casts light on a little-known aspect of hotels such as the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower and the Trident hotel: they are favoured sites for private equity (PE) and VC firms that move tens of millions of dollars in discreet dealmaking into the Indian economy.

Besides Battery Ventures, Silicon Valley-based VC firms Norwest Venture Partners and IDG Venture India have offices at the same hotel. Data from research service Venture Intelligence shows $9.7 billion (Rs48,500 crore) was invested in PE- and VC-backed transactions, excluding real estate, in India between January and September, against $9.5 billion in the first three quarters of 2007.

The Taj and Trident have been preferred by some of the world’s biggest PE firms who set up their India offices there before finding more permanent set-ups. Candover Investments Plc., one of the oldest European PE groups, set up its India office at the Taj about three months ago.

Buyout specialist The Carlyle Group Llc. had its office at the Trident (then known as Hilton Towers) until a few years ago, while its competitor The Blackstone Group Lp. checked out of the Taj around a year ago. European PE fund Apax Partners, which has an investment in Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd, also had offices in the Trident until a few months ago.

However, a large number of deals are still sealed at The Chambers at the Taj and the Belvedere Club at the Oberoi hotel.