Grapevine: Duracell to buy Eveready biz; WestBridge may take control of Fogg deo maker
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Duracell Inc. is set to acquire Eveready Industries India Ltd’s battery and flashlight business for up to Rs 1,700 crore ($237 million), a media report said.

Citing multiple sources aware of the matter, The Economic Times said that Duracell pipped rival Energizer Holdings for the deal with the flagship company of the BM Khaitan group.

The report said that Duracell, owned by billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., will only own the Eveready brand in India and own an annual installed capacity of 1.5 billion batteries and 20 million flashlights per year.

Duracell’s proposed offer excludes Eveready’s lighting, electrical appliances, confectionery and fast-moving consumer goods businesses. The deal also excludes the company’s non-core real estate, the report said.

In another development, homegrown private equity firm WestBridge Capital is in discussions to take majority control of Vini Cosmetics at a valuation of about Rs 6,500 crore, The Economic Times reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

WestBridge had invested in the maker of deodorant maker Fogg two years ago.

The report said that the PE firm plans to pick up an additional 30% stake in the company from early investor Sequoia Capital and the promoter group for around Rs 2,000 crore. Sequoia is likely to make a complete exit while the promoters will sell about 15% of their stake, the report said.

Meanwhile, Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal is planning to launch a venture capital fund with a target corpus of up to $400 million to focus on startups that need growth capital, The Times of India reported, citing two sources familiar with the development.

The new fund is likely to roll out by the end of the year and will be based out of Singapore, the report said. Bansal is likely to invest 10-20% of the fund’s corpus and rope in other investors like a fund of funds and family offices, it added.

Bansal had resigned as Flipkart's group chief executive officer last year, though he retains a small stake in the e-commerce firm. Last week, a media report said that Bansal sold Flipkart shares worth around $14 million to US-based investment firm Tiger Global Management.

Separately, Norway’s state utility Statkraft has emerged as the only contender for Continuum Wind Energy, a wind energy platform owned by Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners, Mint reported, citing two people aware of the development.

Previously, other strategic investors such as CLP India and global energy major Shell were said to be in talks to acquire Continuum.

Singapore-based Continuum was founded by Arvind Bansal and Vikash Saraf in 2009. Morgan Stanley invested about $212 million in Continuum in 2012.

In another report, Mint said that Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management and Singapore’s Temasek Holdings have joined the race to buy the gas pipeline assets of state-run GAIL (India) Ltd.

Citing three people aware of the matter, Mint said state-run Indian Oil Corp and Bharat Petroleum Corp have already shown interest in the gas transmission assets.

GAIL owns more than two-thirds of India’s 12,000-km pipeline network and is planning to add 9,000 km of pipeline network in the near future, the report said.

The government has been planning to split GAIL by hiving off its gas marketing and pipeline business into a separate entity and selling a majority stake in it to strategic investors.

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