Argonaut Venture, a private equity firm, has picked up a 2.3% stake in Shriram EPC from the open markets. The firm, through Argonaut Ventures Opportunities Fund, picked up the stake in a single bulk deal for around Rs 18.5 crore. The stake has been sold by Galleon Special Opportunity Funds to Argonaut at Rs 185 per share.

Argonaut is the investment fund of George Kaiser, an American billionaire who made his fortune making smart bets on oil prices. It already holds a 2.9% stake as of June-end, 2009 and the present deal will take it above 5%. Part of the stake was bought when ChrysCapital exited Shriram EPC back in 2007.

Existing PE investors in Shriram EPC include UTI Ventures, New Vernon India and Bessemer Venture Partners.

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