Grapevine: CDPQ inks deal with Embassy; Brookfield, others bid for Ashoka Concessions

By Ankit Agarwal

  • 18 Feb 2021

Ivanhoé Cambridge, a real estate subsidiary of Canada’s second-largest pension fund Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), has signed an agreement with Embassy Group to set up a commercial office platform, Mint reported, citing two people familiar with the development.

“It’s an 80:20 joint venture platform set up as an alternative investment fund with a development timeline of five years. Ivanhoé Cambridge will put in $150 million (about Rs 1,091 crore) to start with, and Embassy’s contribution will be $30 million (about Rs 218 crore),” said one of the two people cited above.

Once the Embassy-Indiabulls merger is complete, the new office platform will be part of the merged entity.

Meanwhile, a bunch of investors including Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management Inc., India’s quasi-sovereign wealth fund National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) and private equity firm Actis Llp have placed bids to buy Ashoka Concessions Ltd in a deal with an implied equity value of around $350 million (about Rs 2,545 crore) and an enterprise value of $1.2 billion (about Rs 8,728 crore), two people aware of the development told Mint.

The roads portfolio of Ashoka Concessions comprises 15 assets, including six operational build, operate, transfer (BOT) toll projects, one operational BOT annuity project and eight under-construction hybrid annuity projects.

Ashoka Buildcon Ltd has a 61% stake in Ashoka Concessions. Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA), one of the biggest foreign infrastructure investors in India, holds the remaining 39%.

In 2012, Macquarie, through its first India-focused fund, had bought a stake in Ashoka Concessions for Rs 800 crore (about $109 million).

In another development, after 10-month-long negotiations, KKR India Financial Services (KIFS), global PE KKR & Co.’s India lending unit, is being merged with InCred, The Economic Times reported, citing people aware of the matter.

The all-stock merger will help InCred scale up its loan book, especially in the wholesale segment, and get access to KKR’s deep financial resources. For every two KIFS shares, investors will get one of InCred.

KKR, along with its two limited partners Teacher Retirement System of Texas and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), will end up owning up to 35% of the merged entity, while InCred and its promoters will own the rest, said the people cited above.

The merger will value KIFS at about Rs 6,000 crore (about $824 million), a fourth of its valuation in 2018, when it had plans for a public issue.

Also, serial pharma entrepreneur Arun Kumar and private equity investor TPG Capital are seeking to exit Solara Active Pharma Sciences, people aware of the talks told The Economic Times.

Private equity groups Advent International, Carlyle, True North and Temasek have been approached to buy Solara, a carve-out from Kumar-promoted Strides Pharma Science and SeQuent Scientific that was sold to Carlyle last year.

Separately, online milk delivery startup MilkBasket could be acquired by Reliance, an Entrackr report cited three people in the know.

“The talks have reached the last stage and both parties have agreed upon the contours of the deal. Reliance has already offered a term sheet earlier this month and the transaction could be announced soon,” said one of the people, requesting anonymity.

“The size of the deal is up to $43 million (about Rs 312 crore),” said the second person.

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