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Alibaba’s Jack Ma, Joseph Tsai eye deals in India; IFC leads race to buy stake in IDBI Bank

13 June, 2016

The family offices of Alibaba Group chairman Jack Ma and and executive vice president Joseph Tsai are exploring investment opportunities in India, according to a report.

While the personal investment vehicles of the two Chinese billionaires are yet to park money in Indian startups, feelers have been sent through informal networks, The Economic Times reported citing two people with direct knowledge of the overtures made by the investors.

While Ma’s net worth is estimated at $22.8 billion, Tsai’s at $5.5-$7 billion. Tsai launched his multi-billion dollar family office last year to invest his wealth created by Alibaba’s $25 billion initial public offering of shares on the New York Stock Exchange, the report said.

Chinese strategic investors Tencent and Didi Chuxing have already invested in digital payments and commerce platform Paytm, online marketplace Snapdeal, online healthcare information provider Practo and ride-hailing app Ola.

IFC leads race to buy stake in IDBI Bank

International Finance Corporation, the private sector lending arm of the World Bank, is learnt to have emerged as the top contender to acquire around 15% stake in government-controlled IDBI Bank, The Times of India reported citing sources close to the matter.

The bank is also holding discussions with GIC of Singapore, Asian Development Bank and Commonwealth Development Corporation, the report said.

Last Monday, the bank brass had a meeting with minister of state for finance Jayant Sinha, who has been tracking the dilution of government equity, the paper said.

Amtek Auto to divest German arm Tekfor for $700 mn

Auto parts manufacturer Amtek Auto Ltd is in advanced stage of negotiations to divest its profitable German unit Tekfor for approximately $700 million to a foreign buyer. The move is part of its efforts to bring down its mounting debt pile.

The group is also planing to offload its 50% stake in a joint venture and domestic food business as well as to raise funds from three overseas investors, Business Standard reported.

It claims that, after these deals are done, the debt of the company will come down by $1 billion (Rs 6,700) in the next 12 months. The consolidated debt of the group is estimated to be about $2.2 billion (Rs 14,700 crore).

Banks alert RBI about possible dollar shortage in market

Banks have cautioned the Reserve Bank of India about the possible mismatches in the market and shortage of dollars, following a likely outflow of $20 billion of foreign currency deposits between September and November this year.

Bankers and RBI officials met a week ago and discussed how the redemption could impact banks and money markets. The bankers feel that there could be delay in delivery of dollars by banks with whom the RBI had entered into forward deals, The Economic Times reported.

The forward deals were struck by the RBI to make sure that when the deposits come up for repayment, dollars could be supplied to banks (which accepted the deposits) without directly drawing down on the country’s forex reserves.

SBI sets up team to prepare framework for merger of associate banks

State Bank of India has set up a team to prepare a framework for amalgamation of five associate banks and Bharatiya Mahila Bank with itself, amid the political opposition gaining ground to the proposed move. The government is yet to approve the proposal of merger.

The team has been formed under the supervision of associate and subsidiaries department, which is being headed by managing director VG Kannan.

“A team of 15-20 members has been set up and it has started working on the framework for the merger. The team is headed by a general manager and there are a few deputy general managers,” the Press Trust of India reported citing a source.

PE firm I Squared Capital to invest up to $1 bn in infrastructure

US-based private equity firm I Squared Capital is planning to invest as much as $1 billion (around Rs  6,700 crore) in the Indian infrastructure sector, including roads, logistics and rooftop solar power projects.

In 2015, I Squared Capital raised a $3 billion fund named ISQ Global Infrastructure Fund. That corpus has now grown to $3.8 billion, Mint reported citing Gautam Bhandari, partner at I Squared Capital,  who is looking to deploy about one-third of its funds under management in the region.

I Squared Capital is looking at risk-adjusted annual returns between 15% and 20% from the road sector, Bhandari said.

The PE firm has already invested over Rs 1,000 crore via its investment platform Cube Highway and Infrastructure Pte Ltd in three road assets till date. It has committed to invest in assets worth Rs 2,000 crore to its rooftop solar platform.

Reliance Communications, Aircel merger to be closed by early next month

Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications Ltd and Aircel are in advanced stage of negotiations to close their merger by early next month, The Economic Times reported .

The deadline for exclusive negotiations to complete the merger was earlier extended by a month till June 22. The two companies are now finalising the various commercial and legal terms of engagement, the report said.

The merged entity, which will be India’s third-largest telecom firm by subscribers, will save about Rs 2,500 crore a year through synergy between the two companies. RCom will carve out its wireless business and merge it with Aircel’s wireless business, which will result in a new brand.

Bombay Shirt Company raises $992K in bridge round

Bombay Shirt Company, an online custom shirt retailer, has secured Rs 6.6 crore in a bridge round of funding from existing investor Patni Group and an undisclosed investor, The Economic Times reported citing founder Akshay Narvekar.

Amit and Arihant Patni, sons of Patni Computer co-founder Gajendra Patni, had picked up a significant stake in Bombay Shirt for an undisclosed amount in June 2014. 

The funds raised will be used to expand to other cities Bengaluru, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai — as well as key hires in the technology space. Bombay Shirt Company started its omnichannel business with two stores in Mumbai.

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Alibaba’s Jack Ma, Joseph Tsai eye deals in India; IFC leads race to buy stake in IDBI Bank

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