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Walmart eyes majority stake in Flipkart; Blackstone ends bid for Anand Jain fund

14 March, 2018

US-based retailer Walmart Inc. is in advanced discussions to acquire a large stake in e-commerce company Flipkart, The Economic Times reported, citing sources aware of the development.

Walmart could buy about 20-26% stake initially and increase its shareholding to 51% in tranches, the report said.

The report said Walmart could invest up to $10-12 billion for the entire stake purchase. The primary investment would be around $1-2 billion and the remaining would be to buy shares from existing investors.

Flipkart had raised about $4 billion last year from a bunch of investors including Chinese Internet giant Tencent Holdings, US online retailer eBay, software giant Microsoft Corp, Japan’s SoftBank Group and South African technology conglomerate Naspers.

In another report, The Economic Times said, citing sources it didn’t identify, that IHH Healthcare Berhad, majority owned by Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad, is looking to launch a voluntary open offer to buy the non-promoter shares of Fortis Healthcare Ltd.

A consortium of private equity firm TPG and Manipal Hospitals is also in the fray to acquire at least a 51% stake in Fortis Healthcare, the report added.

The report said IHH Healthcare has given the mandate to Citibank for the transaction and that it is setting aside $1 billion for the process.

As on 31 December 2017, public shareholders owned a 65.5% stake in Fortis, stock-exchange data show.

Meanwhile, private equity giant Blackstone’s planned deal to buy Urban Infrastructure Opportunities Fund has collapsed due to valuation mismatch, Mint reported.

The deal for the Jai Corp-owned residential realty-focussed alternative investment fund was valued around Rs 800 crore, the report said, citing people aware of the development.

The fund was launched in mid-2006. It has a corpus of Rs 2,434 crore. As on 31 December 2017, the fund had made 24 investments, according to its website.

The fund is managed by Urban Infrastructure Venture Capital Ltd, which also advises Urban Infrastructure Capital Advisors, which in turn manages a Mauritius-based offshore fund.

Urban Infrastructure Venture Capital is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mumbai-listed Jai Corp, which is controlled by billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s confidant Anand Jain and has business interests in special economic zones, manufacturing and infrastructure.

In another report, Mint said that financial services provider Centrum Group is looking to make a foray into stressed assets and insurance segments.

Jaspal Bindra, executive chairman at Centrum, told Mint that he expected the group to be in the asset reconstruction business at some point in the future and that the company was trying to figure out the sectors and the size of the deals it should go after.

He added that Centrum was keen to explore the insurance sector but was far from making any commitment.

Centrum is also looking to raise Rs 500 crore for its lending business, the report added.

Separately, The Economic Times reported that JM Financial Asset Reconstruction Company is the only bidder for debt-laden textile company Alok Industries.

Citing two sources aware of the development, the report said that Alok’s lenders may have to take a haircut of 85% of the loans outstanding.

Alok Industries is undergoing a corporate insolvency resolution process by the National Company Law Tribunal. As of 31 March 2017, the company’s total borrowings were close to Rs 23,400 crore.

In another article, The Economic Times said that UK-based Liberty House is the sole bidder for bankrupt ABG Shipyard Ltd after the second round of bidding.

Liberty House was the only bidder in the first round as well, the report said.

Citing sources, the report said the bid could be in the range of Rs 2,000-2,400 crore. The company owes around Rs 18,245 crore to the creditors.

Separately, The Times of India reported, citing people aware of the development, that liquor company Beam Suntory is in early talks to buy a minority stake in homegrown spirits maker Allied Blenders and Distillers Pvt. Ltd.

Beam Suntory, a unit of Japanese liquor giant Suntory Holdings, is looking for a commercial partnership to push its products in India, according to the report.

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Walmart eyes majority stake in Flipkart; Blackstone ends bid for Anand Jain fund

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