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Blackstone invests in test preparation firm Aakash

Private equity firm Blackstone Group LP will invest in omni-channel education and test preparation firm Aakash Educational Services Ltd, Mint reported. Aakash is one of India’s largest test preparation companies, and helps students of classes 8-12 for medical, engineering and other competitive examinations. The digitally enabled company has more than 200 centres across 130 cities, employing over 2,200 teachers to help train more than 250,000 students. While Blackstone did not disclose the financial details of the transaction, one person aware of the deal, requesting anonymity, said that the PE firm will pick up a 36.5% stake in Aakash for 1,350 crore at a valuation of over $500 million. Before the stake sale to Blackstone, Aakash was eyeing an initial public offering and had filed its so-called draft red herring prospectus with the market regulator in July 2018. However, it did not move ahead with the plans. So far, the New York-based alternative assets manager has invested over $13 billion in India, divided almost equally between PE and real estate deals.

Abu Dhabi’s Masdar to buy minority stake in Hero Future Energies

Abu Dhabi Future Energy Co. PJSC, also known as Masdar, one of the largest developers of renewable energy in West Asia, is picking up a minority stake in Hero Future Energies Pvt. Ltd, a renewable energy company owned by Rahul Munjal of Hero Group, Mint reported. According to a filing made to the Competition Commission of India (CCI), the offer was approved under the green channel for mergers and acquisitions. The green channel is a speedier approval route for mergers and acquisitions. Under this process, the combination is deemed to have been approved upon filing the notice in the prescribed format. The transaction will see Masdar pick up an equity stake in the UK-based entity that controls Hero Future Energies Pvt. Ltd, as well as subscribing to non-voting compulsorily convertible preference shares in the company. While further details of the transaction could not be ascertained, The Economic Times had reported on 2 October that Masdar may buy a 20% stake in Hero Future Energies for $150 million. While Masdar had appointed BNP Paribas to advise on the transaction, JPMorgan advised Hero Future. Hero Future has presence across 10 states in India with an operating asset base of approximately 1,200 megawatts (MW) across wind, solar (grid-connected) and rooftop plants. In 2017, it had raised $125 million from International Finance Corp. The Masdar-Hero deal marks a rare entry of a new growth equity investor in an Indian renewable energy producer in recent times.

KKR sells stake in SBI Life worth $75 million

American private equity (PE) firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Co., or KKR, on Wednesday sold shares worth 533.7 crore (around $75 million) that it held in SBI Life Insurance Co. Ltd through a block deal on the market, Mint reported citing data from stock exchanges. KKR sold 5.46 million shares at 976.25 apiece. This is the third time this year that KKR has sold shares of SBI Life. Mint had reported on 25 July that Value Line Pte. Ltd, an affiliate of KKR that held the shares, had sold 6.5 million shares at 775 apiece, to raise 503.7 crore. On 30 August, the private equity firm sold another tranche of 5.3 million shares at 810.07 apiece, which fetched it 429.3 crore. So far, across the three sales, KKR has raised 1,466.7 crore from the share sale. Before these sales, KKR held 19.5 million shares in the company, representing a 1.95% stake in the life insurer.

Fiat Chrysler, Peugeot owner PSA in talks to combine

Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot owner PSA are in talks to combine in a deal that could create a $50 billion (£38.88 billion) automaker, Mint reported citing a Wall Street Journal report. The deal could be in the form of an all-stock deal. Investors have speculated for several years that Fiat Chrysler was hunting for a merger partner, encouraged by the rhetoric of the company's late chief executive, Sergio Marchionne. In 2015, Marchionne outlined the case for consolidation of the auto industry, and tried unsuccessfully to interest General Motors Co in a deal. Peugeot and Fiat Chrysler had discussed a combination earlier this year, before Fiat Chrysler proposed a $35 billion merger with French automaker Renault SA. Fiat Chrysler Chairman John Elkann broke off talks with Renault in June after French government officials intervened, and pushed for Renault to first resolve tensions with its Japanese alliance partner, Nissan Motor Co. Following the collapse of the Renault merger plan, Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley left the door open for talks with would-be partners, but said the Italian-American automaker could go it alone despite mounting costs to develop electric vehicles and comply with tougher emissions rules in Europe, the United States and China. Peugeot CEO Carlos Tavares dismissed the idea of a combination with Fiat Chrysler during a discussion with reporters at the Frankfurt auto show last month.

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