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Pocket Aces has secured  ₹100 crore from Sequoia India. iStock photo
Pocket Aces has secured 100 crore from Sequoia India. iStock photo

Deals Buzz: Sequoia’s India arm tops up sixth fund with additional $200 million

In other news, promoters of Zee Entertainment Enterprises seem to be leaning towards the binding agreement from a financial investor for a partial stake sale as the transaction moves towards closure; a final decision is likely today

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

Sequoia’s India arm tops up sixth fund with additional $200 mn

Sequoia Capital India, the local arm of storied Silicon Valley venture investor Sequoia, is raising $200 million to add to its existing fund, driven by a fast-growing market and interest from limited partners (LPs, or investors in the fund), Mint reported citing two people aware of the development. Sequoia, which is an investor in startups such as Oyo Rooms, Byju’s Learning and online grocer Grofers, had raised a $695 million fund last August, its sixth in India, to be invested in startups across the country and Southeast Asia. Along with the add-on, Sequoia’s sixth fund will almost be on a par with the $920-million fifth fund launched in 2016. From the sixth fund, its Indian investments include two-wheeler rental startup Bounce, payments aggregator BharatPe and student housing firm Stanza Living, according to data from Venture Intelligence. With over 200 companies in its portfolio, Sequoia Capital India has been one of the most active venture capital funds across tech and non-tech investments for the last decade and has made 32 investments in the first half of this year alone, making it the country’s most active VC, according to a Mint analysis.

Hexaware founder Atul Nishar starts ed-tech firm

Hexaware Technologies Ltd founder Atul Nishar has launched an education technology company, Azent Overseas Education, along with his daughter Priyanka, offering online and offline counselling for overseas education, Mint reported. The education advisory firm is being started with an initial capital outlay of 250 crore which will be used over the next three years, Nishar told Mint. At present, it has centres in Mumbai, Thane, Hyderabad, Chennai and Bengaluru, with a team of more than 80 people, including 25 counsellors. The firm seeks to offer guidance to students in selecting the right courses in 1,200 universities across the world in the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Ireland and Singapore. The counselling service, which will also help students with applications, visas and pre-departure processes, will run through Azent’s physical and online centres.

Pocket Aces raises 100 cr from Sequoia, others

Mumbai-based digital entertainment firm Pocket Aces has secured 100 crore from Sequoia India, DSP Group and 3one4 Capital, besides other prominent investors, Mint reported. Pocket Aces plans to use the fresh capital to invest in content, technology and talent. It also aims to multiply its social distribution by starting three new content channels in the next 12 months. It is targeting a run-rate of 1 billion monthly video views on original content by 2020. Founded in 2013 by Ashwin Suresh, Anirudh Pandita and Aditi Shrivastava, Pocket Aces operates three socially distributed content channels: FilterCopy (short videos), Dice Media (long-form videos) and Gobble (food and lifestyle videos). It also operates a direct-to-consumer platform, Loco (live and interactive e-sports app). Since its last fundraising activity in 2016, the company claims to have increased its viewership, clocking around 500 million monthly video views.

Aurobindo’s Sandoz deal may face further delays

Aurobindo Pharma Ltd’s plans to acquire Sandoz Inc.’s dermatology business, besides three manufacturing units in the US, is likely to be delayed further, pending approval from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the US’s anti-trust regulator, Mint reported. While Aurobindo Pharma has not yet replied to Mint’s queries, a Sandoz spokesperson said finalization of the deal “is proceeding according to plan" and “there was no delay". “We continue to target completion in H2, 2019," the spokesperson said in an emailed reply to Mint. In September, Hyderabad-based Aurobindo announced that it would acquire the commercial operations of Swiss drug maker Novartis AGs’ generics unit in the US for $900 million. However, the proposed deal, which could emerge as the largest outbound deal by an Indian company, is yet to see the light of day considering that the FTC is yet to respond.

Zee may opt for offer by financial investor for stake sale, decision likely today

After two nights of deliberations, promoters of Zee Entertainment Enterprises seem to be leaning towards the binding agreement from a financial investor for a partial stake sale as the transaction moves towards closure, The Economic Times reported citing say two people close to the development. The brass of the Essel Group, which owns Zee, have been deliberating the pros and cons of both offers. The deal is expected to close at 17-20 per cent premium over the last six month average market value. Zee has received two offers for the proposed stake sale — a binding one from a financial investor for a partial stake and second non-binding one from a consortium led by US cable major Comcast and also comprising independent fund Atairos, Blackstone and James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems, for a controlling stake, including option for an open offer for an additional 26 per cent. Zee promoters are most likely announce their final decision on Wednesday.

SBI eyes 6,000 cr from sale of part stake in card unit

State Bank of India (SBI) is looking to raise 5,000-6,000 crore by selling a part stake in its credit card joint venture via an initial public offer (IPO), The Economic Times reported citing two people familiar with the development. The card payments firm, which claims to be the second-largest credit card issuer with a customer base of over 8.7 million people in India after HDFC Bank which has 12.7 million customers, is presently in the process of shortlisting merchant bankers for its debut on Indian bourses, likely to happen in the last quarter of the current fiscal. SBI Cards Payment and Services Pvt Ltd (SBI Cards), a 74:26 joint venture between SBI and global private equity firm Carlyle, may raise 8,000 crore through its IPO, which would primarily be a secondary sale of shares from the existing investors — SBI and Carlyle Group. While the size of the issue would depend on the extent of Carlyle’s participation in the proposed IPO, SBI’s stake may drop to about 60%.

Jio to raise $1 billion via offshore loans to buy telecom gear

Reliance Jio Infocomm is gearing up to borrow about $1 billion ( 6,871 crore) via offshore loans to buy telecom equipment, start a range of financial services to complement what it already offers subscribers and unveil its home broadband pricing, The Economic Times reported citing three people with knowledge of the matter. Jio’s external commercial borrowing (ECB) will be guaranteed by the Korea Trade Insurance Corporation to fund purchases from South Korean companies. Reliance Industries, Jio’s parent company that’s controlled by Mukesh Ambani, may give further details on the gamut of financial services it looks to offer at the upcoming annual general meeting on August 12. It will offer these services to its 340 million users, hoping to attract more high-value subscribers. It’s not clear whether these new financial services will be provided by Jio Payments Bank — a joint venture with State Bank of India — or through a separate entity. Jio is also expected to provide further details, including the pricing, of its home broadband service, which has been undergoing trials for over two years.


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