Grapevine: Prudent ARC, US fund eye Punj Lloyd; Super Vasmol up for sale
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Prudent ARC and a US-based fund backed by a group of engineering companies have joined the race for Punj Lloyd with the filing of bids for the financially stressed construction company, people aware of the matter told The Economic Times.

Punj Lloyd initially attracted interest from 13 prospective bidders including the Vedanta group and Welspun. None proceeded to make a formal financial bid for the company.

In February, Punj Lloyd’s founder Atul Punj made a fresh offer to the banks to reclaim the company from them.

Meanwhile, the Chhabra family is in talks to sell Super Vasmol hair colour brand for up to Rs 1,800 crore ($243 million at current exchange rate), people in the know told The Economic Times.

It has approached personal care companies Godrej Consumer, Marico, Emami, Dabur and Hindustan Unilever.

PremjiInvest, the family office of Wipro Ltd founder chairman Azim Premji, which invested Rs 216 crore for around a third of Hygienic Research Institute Pvt. Ltd in 2015, would exit through this transaction.

“Even consumer-focused buyout funds will be tapped. The flagship brand is likely to get demerged into a separate vehicle from a tax-efficiency point of view,” an official in the know said.

In another development, Bengaluru-based artificial intelligence startup Entropik Technologies Pvt. Ltd is looking to raise about $10 million (Rs 74 crore) in funding. It is in discussions with a clutch of investors including Falcon Edge Capital, The Economic Times said.

According to persons aware of the development, Sequoia Capital had previously held discussions to invest in the company.

Also, late Cafe Coffee Day founder VG Siddhartha’s family, in an attempt to repay lenders, has put most of their personal assets including 10,000 acres of plantations for sale, persons in the know told The Times of India.

“Active discussions are going on with potential buyers for nearly 40% of the plantations business, while the search is on for (buyers of) the remaining holdings,” said one of the persons. A complete sale of plantations may fetch up to Rs 2,000 crore ($270 million at current exchange rate), they added

The fact that Siddhartha had pledged some of these assets to raise personal loans is likely to make the transactions more complicated, the persons said.

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