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Grapevine: Blackstone frontrunner for L&T MF; Gaja Capital to lead 1mg funding
Photo Credit: Reuters

Private equity giant Blackstone, which was reportedly interested in the acquisition of L&T Mutual Fund, has become a frontrunner.

Both sides are currently in “exclusivity” pact to continue bilateral negotiations that are believed to be primarily focussed on valuations, a person with knowledge of the development told The Economic Times.

However, the deal closure would hinge upon approval from Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), which generally frowns upon private equity ownership of mutual funds. 

Blackstone has offered to pay up to Rs 3,200 crore ($438 million) whereas L&T Finance is believed to be expecting around Rs 4,000 crore ($548 million).

In another development, private equity firm Gaja Capital is in advanced talks to lead a $100 million (Rs 730 crore) round in e-pharmacy 1mg. 

Tata Capital, Europe’s Partners Group, and another global private equity major are also looking to participate in the round, three people briefed on the matter told The Times of India.

1mg’s existing investors, which include Sequoia Capital and World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), are also expected to participate.

1mg is bracing up to fight rivals — Reliance Industries, Amazon and merged PharmEasy-Medlife.

Meanwhile, the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), in its first conventional energy sector bet, is looking to buy about 49.5% stake in gas-based power plant ONGC Tripura Power Company (OTPC) for close to Rs 1,500 crore ($205 million), two people aware of the development told The Economic Times.

A few investors besides the NIIF are also keen on the stake and the final bids will be in by October, said the people.

A 26% stake will be bought from crisis-hit Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) and the remaining 23.5% will be acquired from US-based infrastructure investment fund Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP).

ONGC holds 50% stake and the government of Tripura holds the balance 0.5% stake in OTPC. 

Meanwhile, employee management app PagarBook is in talks to raise $7 million (Rs 51.4 crore) from existing investor Sequoia Capital, digital media publication Entrackr reported, citing three sources aware of the development.

This would be the second round of funding for the Bengaluru-based startup, the report said.

The report said that Sequoia has given a term sheet to PagarBook and that the startup could be valued up to $28 million in this round.

Sequoia, via its startup accelerator Surge, had previously invested Rs 15.2 crore in PagarBook.

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