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Grapevine: RIL in talks with banks for Alok Industries; Temasek may invest in Licious
Photo Credit: VCCircle

Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) is in negotiations with State Bank of India (SBI), HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank to fund its acquisition of textile company Alok Industries in a bankruptcy takeover, people familiar with the plan told The Economic Times.

The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) had approved RIL’s bid, made together with JM Financial Asset Reconstruction Co., to pay Rs 5,050 crore ($710 million at current exchange rate) to take over Alok.

“The negotiations being held with the banks is one of the reasons for the delay in the takeover,” said one of the people cited above.

“SBI has sanctioned Rs 1,800 crore for this loan. But ICICI and HDFC are yet to take a decision,” said another person.

“RIL is offering an offtake guarantee through Alok, which means a promise to take the company's supplies. But it is not giving a clear corporate guarantee which many banks are not comfortable with,” said a third person.

Also, ed-tech startup Cuemath is looking to raise Rs 39 crore ($5.5 million at current exchange rate) in its extended Series B round of funding led by Manta Ray Ventures and joined by existing investors CapitalG (formerly Google Capital) and Sequoia India, Entrackr said, citing regulatory filings.

The filings with the corporate affairs ministry say that while Manta Ray Ventures plans to invest Rs 19.17 crore, Sequoia India and CapitalG will be investing about Rs 11.40 crore and Rs 8.25 crore, respectively.

Cuemath, owned and operated by Cue Learn Pvt. Ltd, is expected to be valued at close to Rs 330 crore upon completion of the round.

Cuemath raised about Rs 100 crore in a Series B round led by Alphabet Inc. and CapitalG, as reported by VCCircle in January 2017.

Bengaluru-based Cue Learn was founded in 2013 by the father-son duo of Jagjit and Manan Khurma. The company ties up with homemakers to run home-based learning centres for students. The course content has been created by maths experts from institutions such as IITs, IIMs, Cambridge University and Stanford University. Jagjit has a PhD in chemistry from the University of Otago (New Zealand), while Manan is an alumnus of IIT Delhi.

Meanwhile, seafood and meat brand Licious is in advanced talks to raise up to $30 million (Rs 213.4 crore at current exchange rate) in a round of funding led by Vertex Ventures, the venture capital arm of Temasek, and an existing investor, persons in the know told The Economic Times.

Vertex had previously invested in Licious, owned and operated by Delightful Gourmet Pvt. Ltd.

The latest round, which is expected to close over the next few days, will value the firm at up to $300 million. It raised close to $25 million in its Series D round led by Japanese conglomerate Nichirei Corporation, as reported by VCCircle in December 2018.

In another development, Mumbai-based drugmaker USV Pvt. Ltd is in advanced talks to acquire the trademark for anti-diabetes drug Jalra from Novartis for more than Rs 200 crore ($28 million at current exchange rate), people aware of the development told The Economic Times.

The family-run USV is likely to announce the acquisition soon, they said.

Jalra is used — alone or in combination with other medicines — to treat Type-II diabetes in adult patients, the report said citing pharmaceutical audit agency AIOCD PharmaTrac.

“With this brand acquisition, USV will now own the trademark in India,” one of the persons said.

In another development, former Infosys CFO and company veteran, Ranganath D Mavinakere, has joined NR Narayanamurthy’s family office Catamaran to lead its investments, Moneycontrol reported.

“Ranga is NRN’s longtime trusted lieutenant. He’s the best person to manage the family office,” said a person familiar with Mavinakere and the Murthy family.

Mavinakere spent 18 years at Infosys, including three as its CFO. He left Infosys in November 2018. When Mavinakere resigned from Infosys, Murthy had described him as ‘one of the best CFOs’ in India and a ‘rare individual’.

Meanwhile, agritech start-up WayCool is in talks to raise $10 million in a round led by LightBox Ventures, Entrackr reported. This will mark WayCool’s third funding round this year. 

In January, WayCool raised Rs 120 crore in equity and debt from LGT Impact Ventures, Caspian Impact Investment Advisor and Northern Arc Capital. The round saw participation from a few angel investors, too. 

Following this, the Chennai-based company raised nearly $5 million in a Series C round from Lightstone Global Fund.
 

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