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Grapevine: Three PE firms in race for SRL stake; Muthoot may buy IDBI Mutual Fund
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Private equity firms TA Associates, Warburg Pincus and ChrysCapital have been shortlisted to acquire up to a 44% stake in SRL Ltd, the diagnostics business of Fortis Healthcare Ltd, The Economic Times reported on Monday.

Citing people aware of the development, the report said the three PE firms have submitted offers that value SRL between Rs 3,700 crore and Rs 4,200 crore ($516-586 million at current exchange rates).

The proposed transaction will see existing investors NY Jacob Ballas, Siguler Guff & Co. and International Finance Corporation sell their combined 31.5% stake in the diagnostics company. The three entities have appointed Kotak Mahindra Capital Company as the merchant banker for the stake sale, the report said.

Two other investors – Axis Bank with a 5.5% stake and Gurinder Singh Dhillon with 5% – may also exit SRL if they are provided the same terms.

Separately, Mint reported that Muthoot Finance Ltd is in an advanced stage of talks to acquire IDBI Asset Management Ltd, the mutual fund unit of IDBI Bank Ltd.

According to three people aware of the development, the deal is likely to be finalised this week. IDBI had also received an offer from Vikas Khemani’s Carnelian Capital Advisors, according to one of the persons.

During the previous financial year, IDBI Asset Management managed 22 schemes. This comprised 12 equity, six debt and two hybrid schemes. It also include one gold fund of funds and one gold exchange-traded fund.

As of March 31, IDBI Bank owned a 66.7% stake in the unit while IDBI Capital Markets & Securities Ltd held the remaining.

The bank is seeking to sell non-core assets as it struggles with bad loans. It reported its 11th straight quarterly loss for the July-September period, even though net loss narrowed to Rs 3,459 crore from Rs 3,602.49 crore a year earlier.

Shares of IDBI Bank and Muthoot Finance were 0.5% down and 3.8% up at Rs 32.75 and Rs 727.90, respectively, around noon on Monday.

Meanwhile, financial services-focussed information technology company Synechron Technologies is on the block, The Economic Times reported. The New York-based company has reached out to Cognizant and Japan’s NTT for a deal, the report said.

However, Synechron founders Tanveer Saulat, Faisal Husain and Zia Bhutta denied they were looking to exit, saying that the firm had held discussions with private equity investors but decided against a transaction. Cognizant and NTT declined to comment on the takeover approach, according to the report.

Synechron was founded in 2001 and has a presence in 18 locations globally, including India. Its founders each own between 25% and 27% of the company. The remaining stake is held by its management and smaller companies it has acquired.

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