Grapevine: Carlyle frontrunner for Piramal pharma stake; NHAI InvIT to take off soon
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US-based private equity firm Carlyle has emerged as the frontrunner to pick up a 20% stake in Ajay Piramal’s pharma business for up to Rs 4,000 crore (about $525 million at current exchange rate), people in the know told The Economic Times.

Carlyle has had an appetite for large pharma and healthcare deals. It recently bought a majority stake in India’s largest pure-play animal healthcare company SeQuent Scientific for about Rs 1,580 crore.

Other contenders in the fray include TA Associates and KKR, which have also submitted binding offers to acquire the 20% stake.

“Going by the bids, Carlyle’s offer, which values the company at Rs 20,000 crore ($2.6 billion at current exchange rate), is the most aggressive. It joined the race late but has upped the tempo in recent weeks,” said one of the persons.

Meanwhile, the first infrastructure investment trust (InvIT) of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), which was announced in January 2020, is likely to take off by the month-end with the filing of an application with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), Business Standard said.

The NHAI plans to offer 19 projects worth Rs 35,000 crore ($4.6 billion at current exchange rate) under the InvIT model, of which two to three projects worth up to Rs 6,000 crore ($790 million) are expected to be taken up first. 

In another development, AION Capital-backed Clix Capital is in talks to buy a majority stake in cash-starved Lakshmi Vilas Bank and a formal letter of intent will be sent to LVB next week, persons in the know told Business Standard.

Earlier in February, there were reports of Temasek being in talks with the bank to buy a 51% stake.

In October 2019, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) disapproved the lender’s merger with Indiabulls Housing Finance Ltd.

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