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Amazon in talks to buy into Spencer’s Retail; PVR eyes Wave Cinemas
Photo Credit: Reuters

Online retailer Amazon is in discussions to pick up a minority stake RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group’s retail chain Spencer’s Retail, a media report said.

The discussions are at an early stage and a deal is not certain, The Economic Times reported, citing two people aware of the development it didn't name.

Spencer’s Retail is a subsidiary of CESC Ltd, the group’s flagship company. CESC has recieved approval of the National Company Law Tribunal for its demerger into four entities, according to the report. Spencer's Retail is one of the entities. The report said Spencer's is looking to raise funds after the demerger by selling a minority stake.

The planned move is part of Amazon's efforts to expand its offline retail footprint. The company was previously reported to be in talks to acquire a stake in Aditya Birla Retail Ltd’s More supermarket chain and Kishore Biyani-led Future Retail, which operates Big Bazaar and Hypercity hypermarkets and electronics chain Ezone.

In another report, The Economic Times said top Indian multiplex chain PVR Ltd is in talks to buy north India-based Wave Cinemas.

Citing two people aware of the development, the report said the deal could be pegged around Rs 400-450 crore. Wave Cinemas operates 46 screens in 12 properties and is building 30 more properties, the report said.

The transaction may be announced only next year as PVR had agreed to freeze expansion in Noida and Gurgaon for three years as part of a deal cleared by India's anti-trust regulator to acquire developer DLF Ltd’s cinema exhibition business in 2016, the report said.

Wave Cinemas has also received interest from other multiplex operators such as Inox Leisure, Cinepolis India and Carnival Cinemas, according to the report.

PVR told the financial daily that it was not in discussions to acquire Wave Cinemas.

Earlier this month, PVR agreed to pick up a 71.7% stake in Chennai-headquartered SPI Cinemas for Rs 633 crore ($91 million) in cash.

Separately, drugmakers Cipla, Zydus Cadilla, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories and private equity fund Baring Asia are in preliminary discussions to acquire Bharat Serums and Vaccines Ltd, The Economic Times reported, citing two people aware of the development.

The value of the deal is pegged at $1 billion (Rs 7,059 crore), the report added.

The company is promoted by the Daftary family and counts Kotak Private Equity and healthcare-focussed private equity firm OrbiMed among its investors.

Kotak PE and OrbiMed hold a 23% stake in the company, according to the report. Investment bank Jefferies & Co has the mandate to manage the sale, the report added.

Meanwhile, US financial services major T Rowe Price has withdrawn its petition from the Bombay High Court against the government, the Securities and Exchange Board of India and other UTI AMC shareholders on Tuesday after assurances from the finance ministry, Mint reported, citing two people aware of the development.

The finance ministry has agreed to issue a no-objection letter for UTI AMC’s initial public offering, and direct public-sector financial institutions to bring down their stakes in the asset manager, the report said.

Life Insurance Corporation of India, Punjab National Bank, State Bank of India and Bank of Baroda hold a 18.25% stake each in UTI AMC. The government would ask them to bring down their stake to 10%, according to the report. T Rowe Price owns 26% of UTI AMC.

The IPO size of UTI AMC is pegged at Rs 5,000 crore.

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