Grapevine: Biyani seeks Blackstone help to cut debt; Reliance may sell Asian Paints stake
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Kishore Biyani’s Future Group has approached private equity (PE) firms, including its existing investor Blackstone, as it tries to reduce debt and keep control of group companies, two people aware of the development told Mint.

The talks with PE investors are among various efforts at the group to monetize assets and deleverage the balance sheet.

“Blackstone might infuse further capital in the group, which is facing challenges on the working capital front as its business has been hit hard by the nationwide lockdown,” one of the persons cited above said.

There have been media reports saying Future Group putting up its logistics business —Future Supply Chain Solutions Ltd—for sale, Amazon looking to buy up to 49% stake in Future Retail, the business that runs BigBazaar chain, and the group is seeking buyers for its stake in Future Generali Insurance.

Total debt at the group’s listed firms rose to Rs 12,778 crore as on 30 September 2019, Icra said.

In another development, Reliance Industries Ltd is considering selling its 4.9% stake in Asian Paints Ltd, India’s largest paint maker, through a series of block trades, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg Quint.

Reliance holds the stake through Teesta Retail Pvt. Ltd. However, Reliance spokesperson said in a statement that the company “firmly deny this development.”

Reliance’s 4.9% stake in the paint maker is worth about Rs 7,490 crore, based on the last price.

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