Even when the stock broking firms are reeling under low trading turnover, the Aditya Birla group seems to be going ahead with its plans of acquiring the Reddy family’s 66.32 per cent stake in Chennai-based Apollo Sindhoori Capital Investments (ASCIL). Business Standard that deal will value the broking firm at Rs 390 crore. This translates into Rs 703 per share. The shares of ASCIL were trading at Rs 494, up 5 per cent, at noon today.

Others in the race included US-based JP Morgan and Anil Ambani-promoted Reliance Capital, but Aditya Birla group has emerged as the frontrunner, according to the report. Aditya Birla group will also make an open offer after acquiring Reddy family’s stake according to the Sebi takeover guidelines.

The Reddy family, who are also promoters of Apollo Hospitals, are exiting from ASCIL as a part of its strategy to divest its interests in non-core businesses. ASCIL has a pan-India presence with over 700 offices across the country and a clientele of over 1,40,000 customers.

The Reddy family is planning expansion of its flagship company Apollo Hospitals. It is planning to invest Rs 1,400 crore over the next two years to expand its healthcare delivery capacity by 2300 beds adding to its current capacity of own beds of 4000. The Reddy family also plans to increase its stake in the in Apollo Hospitals from present level of 27.47 per cent to 31.15 per cent. Money from the stake sale could be deployed for these purposes.

This deal will mark the re-entry of the Aditya Birla group into the broking business. Birlas had exited the stockbroking business by selling their stake in Birla Sun Life Securities, a joint venture between the Aditya Birla group and the Sun Life Group of Canada to the JV Gokal Group. This company was renamed as Brics Securities, which was sold to Lehman Brothers in 2007.

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