Subhash Chandra scrambles to retain Zee reins amid VTB’s stake sale talks
VTB Capital Plc, a unit of Russia’s state-controlled lender VTB Group, is in talks with two potential investors to sell a 10.71% stake in Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd, Mint reported citing two people directly aware of the development. Both the investors are large business groups with presence in media and broadcasting. One of the interested buyers is an Indian conglomerate, while the other is an international corporation. Earlier on Tuesday, VTB Capital said it has secured rights to sell Essel Media Ventures Ltd’s 10.71% stake in Zee Entertainment to recover loan dues. If the deal goes through, it may threaten promoter Subhash Chandra’s control over the company he founded and could expose Zee to hostile takeover bids. Chandra is also in negotiations with VTB to buy back the shares. The promoter group led by Subhash Chandra has offered to prepay a portion of VTB’s outstanding loan of around ₹2,000 crore from the proceeds of the remaining stake sale to Invesco Oppenheimer, which already owns a substantial stake in the company.
CleverTap raises $35 million led by Tiger, Sequoia
CleverTap, a mobile marketing and analytics startup, on Tuesday said that it has raised $35 million in a Series C round, led by existing investors Tiger Global Management and Sequoia Capital, Mint reported. Post the round, the startup is valued at $385 million. CleverTap plans to use the funds to expand beyond its core market in India, to the US, Europe, Middle East, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, and Malaysia, where it is currently growing. CleverTap currently helps consumer-facing businesses, which have a mobile or web app, to build effective user engagement and retention strategies- in sectors such as media and entertainment, urban transportation, travel, telecom, e-commerce, food delivery, and fintech. It provides a real-time dashboard for mobile app developers to keep track of metrics such as new installs/uninstalls, active time and user patterns for a fixed monthly rate. Its clients include streaming platform Hotstar, ticketing firm BookMyShow and fantasy gaming startup Dream11 among others.
Nexus, Prestige in talks to merge mall business
Blackstone-owned Nexus Malls and Bengaluru-based Prestige Group are in initial talks to merge their mall businesses, The Economic Times reported citing two people with knowledge of the matter. If the talks fructify, it will create the largest mall operator in the country and the combined entity could be listed as a real estate investment trust (REIT) as part of the plans. Blackstone-backed Embassy Office Park REIT earlier this year listed its units, which jumped 35% on the first day. Embassy Office Park is the first REIT in India to make an initial public offering and so far the only one listed on the National Stock Exchange. Blackstone has been active in India’s real estate space since 2007 and its retail arm, Nexus Malls, has been adding to its portfolio since 2016. In 2017, Blackstone acquired Elante Mall in Chandigarh for an undisclosed amount. Blackstone has said in the past that it wanted to expand the India mall portfolio.
Flipkart enters food retail via FarmerMart
Walmart-owned Flipkart is entering food retail in India, where consumers spend around $500 billion on groceries annually, The Economic Times reported citing Flipkart Group CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy. Newly registered Flipkart FarmerMart, with an authorised equity capital of ₹1,845 crore, will sell items produced locally. Sales will initially be online, although the company can also sell through physical stores. Flipkart is applying for appropriate licences from the government as the FDI (foreign direct investment) policy allows 100% FDI in food retail for food produced and manufactured in India. The entity will focus on food retail and help boost agriculture as well as the food-processing industry in the country. In India, Walmart doesn’t sell directly to consumers and is an organised wholesaler or cash-andcarry operator that sells merchandise to small neighbourhood stores, hotels and catering firms. The world’s largest retailer acquired Flipkart for $16 billion in 2017 to gain access to India’s $670-billion retail market.
Adani, Reliance Group vie for Mumbai-Pune e-way rights
The Adani Group and the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group are competing with a consortium of IRB Infrastructure and Govt of Singapore Investment Corp (GIC) for the toll operation rights to the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, arguably the country’s busiest road stretch, The Economic Times reported citing sources. Cube Highways and Infrastructure, a road platform backed by I Squared Capital and a few other private equity firms, is also in the fray, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The Maharashtra State Road Development Corp (MSRDC) and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) are expecting at least ₹8,000 crore from the sale of rights. SBI Capital Market has been mandated to find a new operator as IRB Infrastructure’s 15-year contract expired in August. The Mumbai-Pune Expressway, a build-operate-transfer (BOT) project, contributed the highest revenue of ₹918 crore in FY19 to IRB. In revenue terms, the next was the Ahmedabad-Vadodara Expressway at ₹429 crore. Global and domestic infrastructure developers such as Macquarie, Cube Highways and National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) have also been approached. The winning bid is expected to be picked within a month.
CDPQ to acquire IDFC PE’s road portfolio for ₹2,400 crore
Canadian pension fund Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) has agreed to buy erstwhile IDFC Private Equity’s road portfolio Highway Concessions One for ₹2,400 crore, The Economic Times reported citing three people with direct knowledge of the development. CDPQ pipped its Canadian peer Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and Indian sovereign wealth fund National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), among others, to emerge as the highest bidder for the Highway Concessions One (HC1) portfolio that comprises seven road assets covering 472 kilometres and having a consolidated revenue of ₹620 crore a year. Global infrastructure fund manager Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) had taken over private equity and other non-core businesses of IDFC in 2018 after the latter’s merger with First Capital. It had mandated investment bank Edelweiss to look for buyers for the road assets. The five toll roads and two annuity projects include Ulundurpet Expressways in Tamil Nadu, Nirmal BOT in Telangana, Dewas Bhopal Corridor in Madhya Pradesh, Bangalore Elevated Tollway in Karnataka, Godhra Expressway in Gujarat, Jodhpur Pali Expressway in Rajasthan and Shillong Expressway in Meghalaya.
Baring Partners, Strategic Investor in race to buy 30% in Can Fin Homes
Baring Partners, the private-equity major, and a strategic investor are in the race to buy 30% in Can Fin Homes, the housing-finance subsidiary at state-run lender Canara Bank, The Economic Times reported. Competitive intensity is less evident as many earlier bidders, such as Warburg Pincus, have already bought into different entities, and the industry itself is losing sheen due to a credit squeeze. The prime driver for this deal is Canara Bank seeking to get ₹1,000 crore out of the transaction as the cost of funds has shot up from last year. Caladium Investment, an affiliate of Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, owns 13.45% stake in Can Fin Homes, and is the second biggest shareholder after Canara Bank. The lender had sold 13.45% stake in Can Fin Homes in 2017 to Singapore-based Caladium Investment Pte for ₹754 crore. Can Fin Homes had loans outstanding of ₹19003 crore at the end of March 2019. It has a market cap of ₹5085 crore.