Blackstone picks up 2.79% more in MCX for $13M

Private equity giant Blackstone has picked up additional 2.79 per cent stake in Multi-Commodity Exchange of India (MCX) for Rs 81.5 crore ($13.1 million) through secondary market deal on Monday. The stake buy comes after the commodities market regulator Forward Markets Commission (FMC) has given a go ahead to the PE firm to increase stake in the country’s top commodity bourse to 4.99 per cent last month.

With the transaction, Blackstone will hold 4.79 per cent in MCX. It will be the single-largest shareholder along with IFCI and Aginyx Enterprises Ltd, which also hold 4.79 per cent each.

Through Blackstone GPV Capital Partners Mauritius VI FII, the world's largest alternative asset manager bought stake from Merrill Lynch (Mauritius), one of the pre-IPO investors in MCX. Shares were bought for Rs 573 per unit, a slight premium to MCX's closing price of Rs 571.45 on Monday. But this is significantly lower than Rs 1,020 per unit, the price at which Blackstone had bought 2 per cent stake earlier this year. In the earlier round too, Blackstone had bought the shares from Merrill Lynch, which has now completely exited the firm.

Blackstone's stake buy in MCX comes after reports suggested that a consortium led by Universal Commodities Exchange (UCX), which includes bullion trade body Bombay Bullion Association (BBA), had approached FMC with a proposal to buy 24 per cent stake in MCX.

This came after FMC said last month that Financial Technologies (FTIL), promoter of MCX, should bring down its stake to 2 per cent stake in the bourse.

FMC has also held Financial Technologies and its directors responsible for the Rs 5,500 crore fraud involving its unit National Spot Exchange (NSEL).

Blackstone also happens to be a shareholder of FTIL and as of September 30, 2013 held 7 per cent stake.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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