Grapevine: SoftBank may back Mahindra Electric Mobility; Rebel Foods eyes funding
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Mahindra Electric Mobility, after announcing that it would look for a private equity investor or a strategic investor to scale up its operations, is said to be in talks with Japanese giant SoftBank that could result in the sale of a minority stake, Business Standard said.

SoftBank has already invested over $250 million in Ola Electric Mobility where it is a key investor. Mahindra Electric Mobility is backed by Mahindra & Mahindra.

Separately, Rebel Foods Pvt. Ltd, which runs cloud kitchens like Faasos, Oven Story Pizza and Behrouz Biryani, is looking to raise up to $150 million (Rs 1,070 crore at current exchange rate) at a valuation of about $1 billion (Rs 7,135 crore), three persons familiar with the development told The Times of India.

The round could see existing investor Coatue Management invest about $50 million with other new and existing investors also participating. SoftBank has also recently expressed interest in Rebel Foods.

Rebel’s valuation is set to almost double from close to $525 million at which the company raised $125 million in its latest round of funding from Goldman Sachs, Go-Jek and Coatue.

Prior to that, in March 2019, the company raised Rs 110 crore in its Series D round of funding led by Sequoia Capital.

Meanwhile, Punj Lloyd founder Atul Punj is trying to reclaim his company from bankruptcy proceedings by making a fresh offer to banks, four people aware of the matter told The Economic Times.

Atul has proposed to settle part of the banks' dues over 10 years and offered to pay a small upfront sum in return for transfer of the management back to him apart from handing over some fixed assets to the company’s bankers, according to these people.

Punj Lloyd owes around Rs 13,000 crore ($1.8 billion at current exchange rate) to a consortium of banks. It has asked them to take a haircut on their loans, according to persons in the know.

Punj Lloyd initially attracted interest from as many as 13 prospective bidders, people in the know said. These included the Vedanta group and Welspun. None of them proceeded in making a formal financial bid for the company after due diligence.

Separately, Pidilite Industries Ltd, the adhesives and chemicals maker known for its Fevicol brand, has led a $40 million (Rs 285 crore at current exchange rate) investment round in furniture retailer and platform Pepperfry.

The investment in Pepperfry, owned by TrendSutra Platform Services Pvt. Ltd, is part of Pidilite’s strategy of investing in new-age companies that will complement its offerings, said The Economic Times.
Others that have taken part in the Series F investment round include existing investors Goldman Sachs, Norwest Venture Partners, Bertelsmann India and State Street Global Advisors. Pepperfry may also receive an additional $40 million over the next few months, the report said citing a senior executive.

The startup was founded in January 2012 by Ambareesh Murty and Ashish Shah. It started with categories such as home, lifestyle and fashion, and now specialises in furniture and home products on its managed marketplace platform.

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