Mumbai: Mint brings you your dose of the top deals news, reported from newsrooms across the country.

Apollo Global to invest up to $150 million in Altico

Private equity (PE) firm Apollo Global Management has offered to invest up to $150 million in troubled real estate lender Altico Capital India Ltd, Mint reported citing two people aware of the development. As part of the initial talks with Altico’s lenders, Apollo Global expressed its interest to pick up a stake in the company, which could be worth $100-150 million. Part of this investment will be used for interest payments, while the rest will be used to grow the company’s books. Apollo wants the lenders to provide Altico with fresh debt financing of $200-250 million to help it grow its loan book. Apollo is not the only investor keen on the NBFC, and that the lenders are open to meeting other investors, too. Mint reported on 30 September that Altico Capital, which defaulted on interest payments, is in talks with private equity funds, including Apollo Global Management and Cerberus Capital, for a stake sale to raise funds. At present, Altico’s total outstanding debt from 27 lenders stands at 4,361.55 crore. Altico Capital owes the most to IFCI ( 463 crore), Yes Bank ( 400 crore), State Bank of India ( 363 crore), UTI Mutual Fund ( 359 crore) and HDFC Bank ( 280 crore).

Varanium Capital plans to raise 200 crore to fund fintech startups

Varanium Capital, a portfolio manager that offers investment and advisory services, said it plans to raise a 200 crore fintech-focused early-stage venture capital fund, Mint reported citing Aparajit Bhandarkar, managing partner of Varanium. The Varanium NexGen fund plans to invest 2-5 crore each across 35-40 fintech startups at a seed or pre-series A stage. The fund has already raised about 50 crore, marking its first close and plans to start investing soon. While 10% of the fund is contributed by Varanium, the rest of the investors (limited partners) include domestic business professionals and family offices, including former Infosys chairman Mohandas Pai. The fund plans to invest more in business-to-business, or enterprise-focused fintech firms, rather than consumer-focused firms, which generally need high amounts of capital to scale. Given the cheque size, Varanium’s investments will compete with angel networks and high-net-worth individuals (HNIs), who invest by themselves.

Ant Financial may lead $600 million funding in Zomato

Online food delivery and restaurant discovery platform Zomato is finalising a fresh $600-million round of fundraising likely to be led by existing Chinese investor, Ant Financial, The Economic Times reported citing two people in the know. Singapore’s sovereign fund Temasek is also expected to put in a significant amount of capital as part of the fund infusion that will further intensify the battle between Zomato and Swiggy. Zomato’s valuation may cross $3 billion in the new funding round, these people said. That would imply a hefty bump-up over the $2-billion valuation at which it raised funds earlier this year. Ant Financial will see its stake touch almost 29%, making it the largest shareholder in Zomato, ahead of InfoEdge. Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial has been backing Zomato since it picked up a 14.7% stake in February last year. It followed that up by raising its stake to 23% in November last year.

Baring PE Asia to raise 1,500 crore, to invest in mid-sized firm’s bonds

Baring Private Equity Asia (BPEA) is set to raise up to 1,500 crore through a dedicated credit fund that will invest in local bonds sold by mid-sized Indian companies, The Economic Times reported citing two people aware of the matter. It is seeking to tap credit opportunities that traditional lenders appear to be skipping. The company has already applied to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi). The company aims to raise anything between 1,000 and 1,500 crore. The application will fall under one of the Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) categories. The proposed fund would be sector agnostic as it will look into company financials irrespective of any rating grade. Those bonds would be backed by collateral. BPEA will raise money from global asset managers, pension funds, insurers and wealthy investors, sources said. The fund would be divided into two portions – the core and an option to retain oversubscription. BPEA is part of the Baring Asia platform, which globally manages billions of dollars. Earlier in 2017, BPEA had raised a similar credit fund for 750 crore. It made 21 loans to successful and growing businesses and has resulted in almost half of the fund being distributed back to investors within the first two years of its life.