Grapevine: Tatas seek financial partner for Air India; Zomato eyes $200 mn from Tiger Global
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The steel-to-software Tata group is seeking financial partners to join its bid for national carrier Air India, a media report said.

Citing people in the know, Business Standard said that the group will offer the financial partner a minority stake in the special purpose vehicle that will bid for the airline.

The people added that the financial investors including US-based private equity funds are keen to partner with the Tata group for their experience in running Vistara and AirAsia India. Vistara is a full-service airline that the Tata group runs in a joint venture with Singapore Airlines while budget carrier AirAsia India is its joint venture with Malaysian carrier AirAsia.

The Indian government is planning to sell its entire stake in Air India, after a previous attempt to sell a majority stake in the loss-making airline failed in 2018.

The government had in January invited initial offers for Air India by March 17 but has extended the deadline till August 31 in the wake of the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Potential bidders have been deterred by the national carrier’s high debt and losses. Air India, which operates both domestic and international routes, has total debt of around $3.3 billion.

Meanwhile, food delivery company Zomato is looking to raise as much as $200 million (Rs 1,500 crore) from US-based venture investor Tiger Global, Moneycontrol reported.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the report said that Zomato and Tiger Global had launched preliminary talks for the investment and that due diligence was being conducted.

The proposed deal by Tiger Global would value Zomato at $3 billion, the report said. This is the same valuation Zomato is negotiating for a $100 million investment from existing investor Temasek of Singapore, it added.

Tiger Global is one of the most well-known venture investors in India. It had earlier backed online retailer Flipkart, ride-hailing firm Ola, software-as-a-service company Freshworks and insurance aggregator PolicyBazaar, among others.


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