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

Norwest to raise stakes in India

Norwest Venture Partners India will double its investments in the domestic market and add more senior executives, including a managing director; Mint reported citing Niren Shah, managing director and head, Norwest India. While the investment firm is scouting for opportunities across sectors, including financial services, technology, internet, consumer, healthcare and logistics, it plans to stay away from infrastructure deals, PIPE (private investment in public equity) or pre-IPO (initial public offer) deals. Norwest Venture, which typically invests about $75 million a year in India, will henceforth write a minimum cheque of $7-8 million, which could go up to $50 million. While exits have been the Achilles’ heel of the investment industry in India, Norwest India is among the few using various modes—acquisitions of its portfolio firms, secondaries and even IPOs— for exits. Five of its investee companies—RBL Bank, Sadbhav Engineering Ltd, Thyrocare Technologies Ltd, Persistent Systems Ltd and Snowman Logistics Ltd—have gone public. Moreover, at least four more—Five Star Finance, Veritas Finance, NSE and Ess Kay Finance—are expected to launch their IPOs within the next two years. Online furniture retailer Pepperfry also plans to go public in 12-15 months.

Deepika Padukone’s family office invests in e-taxi startup Blu Smart

Actor Deepika Padukone’s family office has invested in Blu Smart- an electric taxi startup, as part of an angel round of $3 million, Mint reported. While Padukone has invested via Ka Enterprises, other investors include JITO Angel Network, Bajaj Capital managing director Sanjiv Bajaj and Rajat Gupta, the now-disgraced former managing director of McKinsey. Founded by Puneet Singh Jaggi, Anmol Singh Jaggi and Punit K Goyal in October 2018, the startup claims to have served over 20,000 customers since its launch in just 3 months in Delhi NCR region. Blu Smart is building an all electric ecosystem with strategic partnerships across automotive, infrastructure and energy companies and plans to on–board 15,000 electric cars, 2500 chargers on its all electric ride sharing platform by 2021 while creating job opportunities for drivers. Padukone has been an active investor in startups, with bets on companies such as yogurt-maker Epigamia and space technology startup Bellatrix Aerospace.

Ola lands 35.9 crore in fresh funding

Ride-hailing firm Ola has raised 35.9 crore in fresh funding from an investment fund named ‘ARK Ola Pre-IPO Private Investment Trust’, indicating that the company might have started preparing to go public in the not-so-distant future, The Economic Times reported. The Seoul-based private trust fund invested in Ola’s ongoing Series-J round, according to documents filed with the Registrar of Companies, and at a valuation of $6.3 billion as of today’s US dollar exchange rate. Online platform Entrackr was the first to report of the Pre-IPO Trust Fund’s investment in Ola on Monday. While details of fund composition are lacking from the regulatory filings, it could possibly be an investment vehicle to shore up on late-stage capital, as companies often do ahead of their IPO. ARK Impact, an asset management company, seems to be behind the fund. In July last year, Ola’s cofounder Bhavish Aggarwal had said that the company was making a profit on every ride and would become cash-flow positive soon. He and cofounder Ankit Bhati were aiming for an IPO in the next 3-4 years, according to Aggarwal.

HDFC to buy out Credila co-promoters

Home loan major Housing Development Finance Corp is in talks with the co-promoters to buy out remaining around 10% stake in student loan company Credila as it looks to grow quickly and prepare it for listing in a couple of years, The Economic Times reported citing sources. HDFC owns 90.75% in HDFC Credila Financial Services. HDFC Credila is India’s first dedicated education loan company, providing loans to students pursuing higher education in India and abroad. HDFC has listed life insurance and mutual fund subsidiary over the last couple of years. Its affordable housing arm Gruh Finance was merged with Bandhan Bank earlier this year. In 2009, HDFC bought 41% stake in HDFC Credila Financial Services held by DSP Merrill Lynch Capital. Credila was founded by Ajay Bohora & Anil Bohora as a joint venture with DSP Meryll Lynch in 2006. The company received an NBFC licence in 2007. It was the first financial services company established as a specialised institution for originating, holding and servicing education loans.

Foxconn Supplier, Others May Invest $5 billion

Component suppliers of Taiwan's Foxconn are among the major ecosystem players likely to set up shop in India and contribute to the more than $5 billion ( 35,500 crore) investment expected in the country over the next two years in high-end electronics manufacturing, The Economic Times reported citing Pankaj Mohindroo, chairman of handset industry body Indian Cellular and Electronic Association (ICEA). The news comes as the government brought down effective tax rate for companies by about 10 percentage points to 25.17% and offered a reduced rate of 17.01%, including surcharges, for new manufacturing firms, as part of efforts to resuscitate the economy. Rates were lowered from nearly 35% and over 29%, respectively. A high-powered committee has been set up to suggest measures to boost exports of locally-made electronic products. Foxconn is the biggest manufacturer of iPhones in the world and its India unit is already testing local production of Apple's devices such as the XR for local supplies as well as exports.

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