Jefferies India Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of the US-based investment bank Jefferies Group, announced on Thursday it had received a category-1 merchant banking licence from capital markets regulator SEBI.

The licence allows investment banks to offer M&A, private equity and capital markets advisory services to private and public companies in India, in addition to cross border M&A and international capital markets services, Jefferies said.

The US based investment bank set up shop in India in 2007 through a representative office in New Delhi. The ibank is believed to be setting up its Mumbai operations currently and will be shifting its headquarters there. In May 2008, the bank appointed Sidharth Punshi as a Managing Director and Country Head in India. He came from Goldman Sachs where he was an executive director.

The bank has been already working with Indian clients has completed some 20 transactions raising $1.4 billion from global capital markets. Its Indian transactions have mainly been foreign currency convertible bonds, American depository receipts, alternative investments market listings, and mergers and acquisitions.

The firm's existing clients in India include NDTV, Adani Enterprises, Radico Khaitan, Gitanjali Gems, Bilcare and Zenith Infotech. The firm plans to target mid-market deals, Brian Friedman, chairman of the executive committee of Jefferies, had said. "We don't wake up in the morning to chase the top 1,000 global companies. We concentrate on the companies in the middle market, which are the real drivers of growth." It has 2,500 employees in 25 countries worldwide.

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