Kotak buys 10% stake in Anil Singhvi’s proxy advisory firm IiAS

Kotak Mahindra Bank has bought 10 per cent stake in Mumbai-based proxy advisory firm Institutional Investor Advisory Services (IiAS) for Rs 1 crore ($150,897), as per a stock market disclosure, valuing it at Rs 10 crore.

It bought 10,00,000 shares or 9.99 per cent stake from BSE (formerly Bombay Stock Exchange), which according to separate media reports has put its 30 per cent stake in IiAS on the block.

BSE's stake sale comes almost five years after it had acquired 74 per cent stake in the company along with Tata, HDFC and Fitch Group for $1.87 million.

The firm, which provides voting recommendations on shareholder resolutions of Indian listed companies, was founded by Anil Singhvi, founder of ICAN Investors, and Amit Tandon, former MD of Fitch Ratings India, in 2010.

Singhvi is a cement industry veteran, having been a long timer with Ambuja Cements and was instrumental in striking the deal where the promoters sold their stake to Holcim in a landmark transaction. Before co-founding IiAS, he had also served as an advisor to Anil Ambani's Reliance ADA Group (now Reliance Group) for a short period, especially for its foray into cement business (now under the block itself).

Providing coverage of over 600 listed companies, IiAS also counts Axis Bank, Fitch Group, HDFC, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance and Tata Investment Corporation as its investors.

Another funded proxy advisory firm in the country is InGovern. Around four years ago, former Infosys director TV Mohandas Pai had invested an undisclosed amount to acquire a significant minority stake in the firm.

Kotak Mahindra Bank has seen plethora of changes over the last year as it struck a deal to buy and merge ING Vysya with itself, becoming the fourth-largest private lender in the country. The merger is expected to be complete by April this year.

The bank had also picked 15 per cent stake in Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd (MCX) and bought PineBridge’s mutual fund business. In another development, it got in-principle nod from the Reserve Bank of India for payments bank licence along with Bharti Airtel.

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