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Grapevine: Ex-Cognizant CEO raising PE fund in America; Acme Solar to sell projects
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Former Cognizant chief executive Francisco D’Souza is raising a $1 billion (Rs 7,335 crore) private equity fund in the US called Recognize, along with others, people in the know told The Times of India

A couple of hundred million dollars have already been raised involving big names from the US private equity and tech spaces, the people said. 

Recognize has technologists with expertise in services and software. It will invest in niche tech assets and is looking at M&As as part of its investment playbook, they added.

D’Souza grew Cognizant more than tenfold from $1.4 billion in 2006 to $16 billion in 2018, when he stepped down. The headcount grew from 39,000 to 2.8 lakh.

Meanwhile, Acme Solar Holdings Ltd is looking to sell 4.84 gigawatts (GW) of solar projects, three people aware of the development told Mint.

Cantor Fitzgerald (Hong Kong) Capital Markets Ltd is running the sale process for Acme, they added.

The solar assets of 4.84 GW are spread over 12 states, with 25-year power purchase pacts in place at a Rs 3.55 per kilowatt-hour weighted average tariff, the sale process documents reviewed by Mint said.

The portfolio is expected to generate Rs 1,600 crore operating profit in 2020-21 at a margin of 93%, representing 21% y-o-y growth in operating profit, the sale documents said.

“The first phase of the process may be launched on 21 September, with the non-binding offers to be made by 19 October. The binding offer may be made by mid-December,” one of the persons said.

Separately, US energy major Murphy Oil Corporation, Brazil’s PetroRio, Wintershall DEA and Vedanta are competing to acquire a $1 billion (Rs 7,335 crore) stake in four Brazil oil blocks from a lender consortium led by the State Bank of India (SBI), people in the know told The Economic Times.

The assets were formerly co-owned by Videocon's oil business division and Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) in a 50:50 joint venture. The consortium seized shares held as collateral by them.

All four prospective buyers are carrying out due diligence before submitting financial offers, the people said.

The consortium had loaned $4 billion to Videocon company VOVL to fund its share of the stake in the joint venture. SBI’s individual loan exposure is $700 million.

Also, KKR-owned infrastructure investment trust (InvIT), India Grid Trust (IndiGrid), is in advanced discussions to acquire the India portfolio of Madrid-based Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) for about Rs 750 crore ($102 million), The Economic Times said.

FRV, the largest Arabian green energy utility, owns a 135 megawatt (MW) solar power project in Andhra Pradesh. 

In 2016, it was awarded a power purchase agreement by Solar Energy Corporation of India Limited (SECI) under the National Solar Mission program at a tariff of Rs 4.43/unit.

FRV had previously held discussions with various power producers and investors such as Hero Future Energies, EverSource and Edelweiss to sell India assets, but they did not fructify.

In another development, neo-banking platform Razorpay is in advanced talks with Singapore’s GIC and existing investors to raise up to $150 million (Rs 1,100 crore) in a fresh round of funding, three people in the know told Entrackr.

Razorpay raised $75 million led by Ribbit Capital and Sequoia Capital in June last year.

“Singapore government-owned GIC would lead the financing round at a valuation over $1 billion (Rs 7,335 crore),” said one of the persons.

“The contours of the transactions have been finalised. Sequoia and Ribbit will participate in the round with some early backers including angels set to exit,” said the second person.

Also, coding platform Camp K12 is in talks to raise up to $15 million (Rs 110 crore) in a round of funding being led by Falcon Edge Capital, a New York-based global alternative asset manager, three people told Entrackr.

“Falcon Edge’s India-focused fund Alpha Wave Incubation will lead the round while existing investors SAIF Partners and Matrix Partners will also participate on a pro-rata basis,” said one of the persons.

In April, Matrix and SAIF led a $4 million seed round in the Gurugram-based company.

Camp K12 is now looking to expand the platform focused on K-12 students globally through live, interactive and gamified online sessions.

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