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Grapevine: Blackstone eyes Reliance Group HQ; Warburg, Temasek in race for SBI General
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Reliance Group chief Anil Ambani is looking to either sell or give on long-term lease his headquarters at Santacruz in Mumbai, a media report said.

Ambani is in talks with private equity firm Blackstone and another US-based fund to strike a deal, The Economic Times reported, citing three people familiar with the development.

The Reliance Centre is spread over an area of 700,000 sq ft and could fetch Rs 1,500-2,000 crore, the report said, but added that the building is caught up in a legal dispute.

The move is part of Reliance Group’s efforts to cut its bulging debt. The group has previously said that it had been looking to monetise its real estate assets to generate cash and pay off debt.

In another report, The Economic Times said that private equity firm Warburg Pincus and Singapore state investment firm Temasek have emerged as the front runners to buy a 26% stake in SBI General Insurance Co. Ltd. The sale is likely to fetch about Rs 3,250 crore at a valuation of Rs 12,500 crore, it said.

Warburg and Temasek are likely to acquire a maximum stake of 9.9% each since ownership of over 10% classifies a shareholder as a promoter that has to stay invested for at least five years, the report said.

The report comes a week after The Economic Times said that Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC and five private equity firms including PremjiInvest, Carlyle and ChrysCapital had been shortlisted to buy the stake in SBI General.

SBI General is a joint venture between State Bank of India (70%) and Insurance Australia Group. It commenced operations in 2010. Last year, the state-run bank sold a 4% stake in the insurer to a private equity fund and PremjiInvest, the family office of Wipro Ltd chairman Azim Premji. The bank has been looking to take the unit public.

Meanwhile, Bank of Baroda has acquired loans worth Rs 3,000 crore from Dewan Housing Finance Corp, Mint reported, citing two people aware of the development.

The state-run lender has adjusted the loans that it bought against its own loans to the non-bank lender, the report said. The acquired loans are higher-rated assets and will help improve the quality of Bank of Baroda’s loan book, the report cited.

Bank of Baroda had an exposure of close to Rs 6,500 crore to Dewan Housing. Other lenders to Dewan Housing include Bank of India, Central Bank of India, Andhra Bank, Canara Bank, Punjab National Bank and Corporation Bank.

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