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Grapevine: Tatas in talks to acquire Bigbasket; DP World-Shreyas deal in trouble
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The Tata Group is in active talks to acquire a controlling stake in online grocery platform Bigbasket, according to several media reports.

The talks, if successful, could see the salt-to-communications conglomerate pay $500-700 million (Rs 3,687-5,162 crore), Mint reported.

Private equity funds as well as China’s Alibaba Group could be among those the Tatas transact with, the report said, citing people aware of the developments. 

Some of the investors in the online grocer include South Korea’s Mirae Asset and the UK’s CDC Group.

This is at least the second time that reports have emerged of the Tatas looking to pick up a stake in Bigbasket. 

Earlier this month, reports said that the group was looking to acquire a 20% stake in Bigbasket to compete with rivals such as Amazon and Reliance Retail.

A controlling stake in Bigbasket will also provide a boost to the super app that the Tata Group is reportedly developing. Last month, it was reported that US retail giant Walmart – which also owns Flipkart – was looking to take a large stake in this app.

The launch of Reliance’s JioMart has also heightened competition in the online grocery space, which includes players such as Grofers and Milkbasket. Bigbasket has also reportedly been in talks to raise funding during this period.

Meanwhile, Dubai-based ports operator DP World is facing trouble with minority shareholders of Shreyas Shipping and Logistics Ltd over its acquisition of the latter’s cargo and logistics businesses, The Economic Times reported.

In representations made to Shreyas’ independent directors, these stakeholders are seeking a reversal of the transactions citing corporate governance violations, the report said citing people aware of the developments.

The stakeholders say there are alleged conflicts of interest as the Ramakrishnan family – the promoters of Shreyas – are getting a 17% stake in the DP World company that is acquiring the businesses in question as part of a parallel transaction in which they are selling a privately-held unit to the Dubai-based operator.

In August, DP World said group subsidiary Unifeeder Group had bought three units of India-headquartered Transworld Group. These included Transworld Feeders FZCO and Transworld Feeders Pvt Ltd (the containerised Indian coastal and export-import feeder operations of Shreyas Shipping and Logistics Ltd, excluding vessels and bulk operations).

At the time, it was reported that DP World would pay a total of $48.7 million (Rs 364 crore) for the deal, of which Mumbai-listed Shreyas Shipping would receive $27.7 million (Rs 207 crore).

Shares of Shreyas Shipping were trading 4.38% up at Rs 54.8 apiece at the time of writing this report. The company posted consolidated net sales of Rs 612.46 crore for the 2019-20 financial year, with post-tax profits of Rs 28.06 crore for the same period.

Separately, Aditya Birla Mutual Fund is in talks to raise up to Rs 2,500 crore (around $339 million) through an initial public offering (IPO), The Economic Times reported.

Aditya Birla MF, which operates as a joint venture between Aditya Birla Capital and Sun Life, is reportedly seeking to capitalise on the maturing equities market, as well as the increasing retail ownership of individual shares and index-based funds.

“Investment bankers are in discussions with the Birla group as they are figuring out the broad contours of the IPO,” one of the people aware of the developments said, according to the report. 

Aditya Birla MF, among the top five asset managers in the country, is 51% owned by Aditya Birla Capital, with Sun Life holding the remaining stake. 

According to its website, the asset firm had Rs 2.2 trillion under management and more than seven million investor folios as of June 30.

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