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Grapevine: Medlife, PharmEasy may merge; Policybazaar eyes $3.5 bn valuation in IPO
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E-pharmacies Medlife and PharmEasy are in talks for a merger deal valued at up to $250 million (about Rs 1,870 crore), persons in the know told Business Standard.

“The modalities are being worked out. Medlife will retain up to 30% stake in the combined entity,” said one of the persons.

Medlife announced a round of funding from Hero Fincorp Ltd worth Rs 155 crore in March.

PharmEasy is backed by investors such as Singapore’s Temasek Holdings and Bessemer Venture Partners. It also counts Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani as one of the backers.

There are several discussions going around in the e-health sector for consolidation. It was reported in May that Reliance Jio is looking to acquire Netmeds for up to $150 million.

Separately, retail-focused real estate developer The Phoenix Mills Ltd has started to execute its plans to raise up to Rs 1,200 crore ($160 million) through a qualified institutional placement (QIP), which could be launched within a quarter, two people aware of the development told Mint.

The funding will help the company to prepare a war chest for distressed asset acquisitions.

“There will be many distressed properties in the market due to the impact of the virus pandemic and the lockdown, and they are keen on snapping up such properties to grow their portfolio,” one of the persons mentioned above said.

The Phoenix Mills’ board recently approved to raise up to Rs 1,100 crore through equity or debt along with Rs 100 crore by allotment of convertible warrants.

In another development, online insurance platform PolicyBazaar is looking to go public before September 2021 at a valuation north of $3.5 billion and is planning to secure about $250 million (about Rs 1,870 crore) in a pre-IPO round of financing at more than $2 billion valuation before that, co-founder Yashish Dahiya told Bloomberg News.

“The IPO size will be about $500 million,” Dahiya said.

PolicyBazaar counts SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund, Tiger Global Management and Tencent Holdings Ltd among its largest backers.

SoftBank invested close to $50 million in the company last month. 

SoftBank and Singaporean state investment firm Temasek Holdings Pte each hold about a 15% stake each in the startup, while Tencent and Tiger Global have about 10 and 8%, respectively.

Meanwhile, Kishore Biyani-led Future Retail’s lenders are looking to convert a part of the debt into equity before a possible sale to a rival, persons in the know told Business Standard.

The final decision on the debt restructuring of the company could be taken within a month. The company might not be able to service its debt once the moratorium on loan repayment ends in August-end.

Future Retail’s debt as of February 2020 rose to Rs 7,241 crore (excluding acceptances on letters of credit) from Rs 2,657 crore as of March 31, 2019, according to a Care Ratings statement.

Last week it was reported that Reliance Industries had shown interest in buying Future Retail.

Also, Royal Orchid Hotels, which runs over 60 hotels across 38 locations in India, is looking to sell its loss-making, debt-laden assets and land parcels, people familiar with the matter told The Economic Times.

The company is planning to sell its stake in a five-star hotel in Jaipur besides land parcels in Powai in Mumbai and Tanzania, these people said.

“The chain is looking at getting investors for its loss-making assets,” one of the persons said.

While managing director Chander K Baljee admitted that the firm was looking for buyers for its land parcels in Powai and Tanzania, he denied that it was planning to sell its stake in the Jaipur property. 

“Our partner wants to sell his share in the Jaipur hotel. We are not looking at selling our stake,” he said.

Separately, Trell, a community-based platform which morphed into a lifestyle-centric short-video app, is at an advanced stage to raise its Series A funding round, which will be led by KTBN and Samsung Ventures, three persons in the know told Entrackr.

Trell would raise $10 million (Rs 74.6 crore) in the round, the persons said. 

The deal, likely to be announced early next month, might also see participation from individual and existing investors Surge and China's Fosun at a valuation of close to $45 million, one of the persons added.

The banning of TikTok and other 58 Chinese apps seems to have been working in favour of apps like Trell.

Trell raised $4 million from Sequoia's accelerator programme Surge and Fosun in its pre-Series A round in March .

It raised $1.25 million in its seed round from Singapore-based early-stage venture capital Beenext and WEH in 2016.

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