Grapevine: ShopClues swings axe on 50% staff; IFC, others mull Azure Power stake sale

By Ankit Agarwal

  • 19 Jul 2019

Gurugram-based online retailer ShopClues has let go about 50% of its workforce, downsizing from about 400 to around 200 employees, three people in the know told The Economic Times.

ShopClues may not offer a severance package to the staff asked to leave, the people added, asking not to be named.

The company was in discussions to be acquired by bigger rival Snapdeal, but the talks likely fell through after a due diligence process revealed that ShopClues had significant liabilities.

In those discussions, ShopClues was seeking a valuation of $300-350 million — a significant haircut to the $1.1 billion it was valued at in early 2016.

“In April, Sanjay Sethi, co-founder, had told people to find jobs outside the organisation. People who could not find jobs were handed pink slips today,” one of the persons said.

Meanwhile, two people in the know told Mint that the following three entities are exploring a sale of their stakes in Azure Power Global Ltd: German development finance institution Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG), World Bank’s private-sector development arm International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Canadian pension fund Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ).

New York Stock Exchange-listed Azure Power, which is engaged in development and operation of solar power plants, has a three gigawatt portfolio across 24 states in India. CDPQ, in October last year, had put an additional $100 million in the company after buying a stake worth $75 million ahead of the firm’s listing on the international stock exchange. Azure Power is also backed by investors like IFC, Helion Venture Partners and DEG.

“After the announcement of the exit of company founder Inderpreet S Wadhwa, the promoters are exploring a stake sale and have initiated discussions for the same,” said one of the persons cited above, asking not to be named.

In another development, a person in the know told Business Standard the central government is looking to invite private equity (PE) players and pension funds to its railway stations’ redevelopment programme worth Rs 1 trillion ($15 billion at current exchange rate). 

The nodal agency for station redevelopment has met PE and pension funds that could invest in these stations, Business Standard reported.

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