Grapevine: Yuri Milner to invest in Rupeek; Interups backs out of Air India race
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Yuri Milner, the billionaire chief of global technology fund DST Global, is in advanced discussions to back gold-loans startup Rupeek, nearly doubling its valuation in less than a year, sources have said.

Gold-loans startup Rupeek is in fundraising talks with Yuri Milner, the billionaire chief of global technology fund DST Global, a move that would nearly double its valuation in less than a year, people in the know told Moneycontrol.

Milner, along with other partners of DST Global, will lead a round of about $45 million (Rs 330 crore), valuing Rupeek at up to $600 million (Rs 4,395 crore), the people said.

As part of the round, two new funds—Vostok Emerging Finance and HighSage Ventures—will also come in even as existing investor GGV Capital shall double down on the company, the people added.

Vostok is a fintech-focused emerging market investor, while HighSage is a Boston-based public and private market investor.

Meanwhile, US-based fund Interups Inc, which has targeted several stressed assets in the country, has withdrawn from the race for Air India as the airline’s employees refused to partner up for the bid, Business Standard reported. 

The fund and employees would have had 49:51% ownership in the airline going by the plan of the US entity.

Interups chairman Laxmi Prasad confirmed the development to Business Standard but did not elaborate. 

Also, former economic affairs secretary Atanu Chakraborty is set to be the next chairperson of India’s largest private-sector lender HDFC Bank upon Reserve Bank of India’s approval, a Mint report said citing a person aware of the matter.

The board of HDFC Bank cleared Chakraborty’s name for the position of part-time chairperson of the bank in its meeting held on Monday. The incumbent part-time chairperson of the board, Shyamala Gopinath, is set to retire on 1 January.

The appointment assumes significance as the lender had recently undergone a leadership change, with its long-time managing director and chief executive officer, Aditya Puri, retiring in October, and Sashidhar Jagdishan taking over.

Chakraborty is a seasoned bureaucrat and has held several important positions, including that of the secretary in the ministry of finance, both in the department of economic affairs as well as divestment.

Chakraborty was the secretary of the department of investment and public asset management (Dipam) from 2018 to 2019 and the economic affairs secretary from May 2019 to April 2020. He had earlier held the position of the director-general of hydrocarbons in the petroleum ministry.

Meanwhile, SoftBank appears to have agreed to sell its entire 80% stake in SB Energy Holdings to Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) for $425 million (Rs 3,110 crore) after months of negotiations. An additional $100 million will be paid subject to future outcomes, The Economic Times report said citing people aware of the development.

Bharti Enterprises, the other partner in the alliance with the right of first refusal, decided to stay on with a 20% stake in the operator of solar, wind and hybrid renewable power plants, but might add a put option in its new joint venture agreement with the Canadian fund, the people said.

The deal is expected to conclude in March 2021. “For the moment, 75% of SoftBank’s shareholding is getting transferred. The remainder will take place after the conditions precedent are fulfilled. But the pricing has been fixed for the entire 80%,” said one of the persons on the condition of anonymity.

CPPIB has informed the operating team that it will monitor the business for the next few months and no business decision can be taken without its approval, the people added.

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