Baring PE, Goldman Sachs among BharatMatrimony’s anchor investors

Online marriage services provider Matrimony.com Pvt. Ltd has raised about Rs 226 crore ($35 million) from a bunch of anchor investors, including Baring Private Equity India and Goldman Sachs, ahead of its initial public offering.

The company, which owns the Bharatmatrimony.com website and a clutch of affiliated portals, sold 2.29 million shares at Rs 985 apiece, according to a stock-exchange filing.

The anchor investors also included world’s largest and oldest investment company Capital Group, UK-based Ocean Dial Asset Management Ltd (which is being acquired by KKR-backed Avendus, and UK-based Threadneedle Asset Management Ltd, among other foreign institutions.

Baring Equity bought shares worth Rs 7.5 crore ($1.17 million), while Goldman Sachs purchased shares worth Rs 40 crore. Capital Group, through its Smallcap World Fund, bought shares worth Rs 75.29 crore. Ocean Dial, through its subsidiary ICG Q Ltd, purchased shares worth Rs 10.11 crore.

BNP Paribas Arbitrage Fund and HDFC Mutual Fund also purchased shares in the anchor allotment.

Anchor investors are institutional investors who accept a one-month lock-in period for a sizeable allocation of shares and support a public offering. Their participation highlights investors’ confidence in an IPO and sets a benchmark for the investor community at large.

The Chennai-based company, which is known for its flagship offering BharatMatrimony, has set a price band of Rs 983-985 per share for a total IPO size of Rs 501.07 crore ($78.41 million).

At the upper end of the announced price band, Matrimony.com is seeking a market valuation of close to 2,600 crore, according to VCCircle estimates.

There are no directly comparable listed peers for BharatMatrimony. Although Info Edge (India) Ltd—which runs BharatMatrimony's competitor Jeevansathi.com—is listed, its valuation is dictated more by its job portal Naukri.com and its stake in Zomato.

Matrimony.com is raising Rs 130 crore via a fresh issue of shares, besides an offer for sale of 3.76 million shares by existing venture capital investors and promoters, including founder and chief executive Murugavel Janakiraman.

VCCircle had reported in May that Matrimony.com had refiled its draft red herring prospectus, roughly five months after scrapping an earlier proposal due to weak market conditions in the aftermath of government’s demonetisation drive. It received regulatory nod on 13 July.

The company was earlier looking to float an IPO in November 2016. Then, apart from Bessemer, Draper Investment and HartenBaum Trust (which is associated with a founding investor in Skype, Howard Hartenbaum) were also looking to sell most of their small holding.

Now, however, Draper and HartenBaum Trust are not among the selling shareholders. Instead, global venture capital firm Mayfied is selling 155,760 shares and JPMorgan 1.68 million shares, or a third of its holding in the company.

Bessemer's plan to offload its entire stake remains unchanged, though. It will sell 1.46 million shares, representing 6.87% stake on a pre-offer basis.

The company also has a new set of merchant bankers to manage the IPO. It has appointed ICICI Securities and Axis Capital as lead managers. It was earlier being advised by Kotak Investment Banking, Citigroup Global Markets and Deutsche Equities India.

Matrimony.com was founded in 1997 and comprises three segments: matchmaking services, marriage services and related sale of products and other services, such as the mobile-only relationship app Matchify. It started offering online matchmaking services in 2001.

The online match-maker joins a growing list of firms that have gone public besides many firms that are preparing to go for an IPO this year. These include country’s largest stock exchange operator National Stock Exchange Ltd, state-owned insurance firms New India Assurance Co Ltd and General Insurance Corp (GIC Re), SBI Life Insurance Co Ltd, ICICI Lombard General Insurance, Future Supply Chain Solutions Ltd.

So far this year, 19 companies have raised an upward of Rs 15,000 crore ($2.38 billion), extending the good run for IPOs after a blockbuster 2016.

The IPO market in India picked up pace after four years of slow activity till mid-2014 when the BJP-led government took over. In 2015, 21 companies had raised about Rs 14,000 crore, as per stock-exchange data.

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