21st Century Fox may hike stake in Tata Sky; Blackstone eyes L&T project
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HDFC Standard Life Insurance Co. Ltd, the life insurance arm of mortgage lender HDFC Ltd, is considering an initial public offering as its merger plans with Analjit Singh-promoted Max Group seems to be heading nowhere, a financial daily reported.

HDFC Life shareholders have also shown more interest in the IPO instead of the merger as it may delay the listing by at least one year, The Economic Times reported citing several people privy to the development

In November 2016, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority had expressed reservations about the deal citing lack of provisions for such a merger under the existing terms and conditions.

HDFC and UK-based Standard Life Plc have 61.65% and 35% stakes, respectively, in HDFC Life, while the remaining shares are with minority shareholders. The life insurance company’s total premium for 2015-16 was at Rs 16,313 crore. Its total assets under management were at Rs 74,247 crore.

Max Financial Services Ltd, was India’s first listed life insurance company. It owns 68.01% in Max Life, while Japan’s Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co. has a 25% stake with Axis Bank holding the remaining 5.99%. Max Life’s total premium for 2015-16 was at Rs 9,216 crore and its AUM stood at Rs 35,824 crore.

Murdoch’s Tata Sky bet

Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox is in talks with the Tata Group to buy an additional stake in direct-to-home operator Tata Sky Mint reported citing two people.

The global media conglomerate currently owns close to 30% stake in the company through Network Digital Distribution Services FZ-LLC and TS Investments Ltd, and may look at a controlling stake in the DTH business. However, there could be a few regulatory hurdles along the way, the report added.

According to the sources, Fox is looking to consolidate its position and control in several markets, including in the UK, and India is a major market the company is trying to tap.

Private equity firm Temasek owns a 10% stake in Tata Sky. As of March 2016, Tata Sky’s net profit was Rs77.4 crore on a total income of Rs 4,490 crore.

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp owns the parent of this website.

Blackstone’s L&T play

A report in the Business Standard said that private equity major Blackstone is in advanced stages of buying L&T Realty’s one-million square feet office space at Seawoods in Mumbai.

Citing unnamed persons aware of the development, the business daily pegged the deal at Rs 900-1,000 crore.

Blackstone had set up its India office in 2005 and has since invested about $6 billion in private equity and real estate deals.

In January, VCCircle had reported that Blackstone had acquired the stake of a consortium of investors in First International Financial Centre at the Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai.

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