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Grapevine: Amazon may buy into Reliance Retail; investors circle Apollo Hospital
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Amazon is in exploratory talks with Reliance Retail to acquire up to 26% stake, two persons in the know told The Economic Times.

Previously, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd’s retail arm’s negotiations with China’s Alibaba Group for a stake sale fell through due to differences over valuation, they said.

In compliance with the revised foreign direct investment (FDI) norms for e-commerce that came into effect in February, Amazon wants a stake that’s less than 26% so that Reliance Retail can become a seller on its Indian e-commerce marketplace.

In another development, Japanese conglomerates Mitsui & Co. and Itochu Corp., apart from Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, are in separate talks with Prathap C Reddy and his family members, the promoters of Apollo Hospital Enterprises, to invest up to $400 million (Rs 2,763.6 crore at current exchange rate) to buy a part of their stake in the group holding company, persons in the know told The Economic Times.

Promoters are seeking to bring a foreign strategic investor on board the group holding company, PCR Investments Ltd, in order to reduce debt and strengthen the balance sheet, the report said.

Last month, Reddy family, which was battling a debt of about Rs 3,450 crore at the end of March, sold its stake in Apollo Munich Health Insurance to HDFC Ltd for Rs 1,347 crore, which would likely bring the pledged promoter stake to lenders down to 50% from 75%, the report said.

Separately, former Cognizant president Rajeev Mehta is taking charge as the new chief executive officer (CEO) at information technology firm Mindtree after co-founder and CEO Rostow Ravanan resigned in early July, persons in the know told The Times Of India

A formal announcement will be made on Friday, the persons added, asking not to be named.

Mehta was part of Cognizant’s former CEO Francisco D’Souza’s core team and was an integral part of the firm’s journey from being barely a $25 million venture to becoming a $16 billion entity last year.

Also, Mahindra Susten, the renewable business arm of the Mahindra group, which has put on block 160 megawatts (MW) of solar assets, has received interest from CLP India and the Piramal group, two people aware of the development told Mint.

“Mahindra Susten’s business model is to build and sell assets; it will use the sale proceeds to develop its pipeline of around one gigawatt (GW),” one of the persons said.

CLP India, which is backed by Canada’s second largest pension fund Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), in the recent past announced investments in infrastructure assets such as Kalpataru Power Transmission and Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners-owned Continuum Wind Energy.

The Piramal group tied up with Canada’s largest pension fund Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) in May to co-sponsor India’s first renewable energy-focused infrastructure investment trust or InvIT. The InvIT plans to acquire up to 1.5-2 GW of stable and long-term cash-generating renewable assets.

Meanwhile, multi-stage investment firm Norwest Venture Partners is selling its stake in six enterprise technology companies to US-based private equity firm HarbourVest Partners in a secondary transaction worth $180-190 million, Techcircle reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The companies in which Norwest has stakes include application management firm Appnomic Systems, logistics tech startup ElasticRun and Zenoti, a software provider to salons and spas that raised $50 million from Tiger Global in May.

HarbourVest has earlier backed Indian lending companies such as Janalakshmi Financial Services and Clix Capital.

The report also said that Norwest partner Mohan Kumar will be leaving the firm but will continue to manage portfolio investments. In May, VCCircle had reported that Norwest added a new partner while repositioning the role of one of its key investment professionals in the country.

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