L&T may make hostile bid for Mindtree; Essel to sell MF business
Photo Credit: Reuters

Larsen & Toubro Ltd is set to sign a pact to buy Cafe Coffee Day founder VG Siddhartha’s 20.4% stake in IT company Mindtree Ltd, a media report said.

The purchase of Siddhartha’s stake could trigger a hostile takeover bid as L&T will have to make an open offer to Mindtree's public shareholders to increase its stake to 51%, Mint reported, citing two people directly aware of the development. 

Siddhartha has pledged almost his entire stake to several lenders to borrow nearly Rs 3,000 crore and is behind schedule on repayments.

A takeover of Mindtree will help L&T, India's biggest engineering company, expand its software services business. The company's IT unit is L&T Infotech Ltd.

Apart from L&T, private equity firms KKR and Baring PE Asia had also shown interest in Mindtree.

In another development, The Economic Times reported that media baron Subash Chandra-led Essel Group plans to sell its mutual fund business to repay debt.

Citing three persons with direct knowledge of the development, the report said that Srei Mutual Fund Asset Management, Avendus Capital and Lodha Ventures Holdings are looking to acquire Essel Mutual Fund for an estimated value of Rs 100 crore. 

Essel's mutual fund business has assets under management (AUM) of Rs 1,428 crore. Essel Group has a total debt of Rs 17,174 crore. The group had previously said it was looking to sell a stake in its flagship Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. Media reports previously said the group was in talks with Sony Pictures and Comcast to sell a stake in Zee Entertainment.

Meanwhile, industrial real estate and warehouse developer IndoSpace has bought a 70-acre logistics park from Orris Infrastructure on the outskirts of Gurugram for Rs 60 crore, The Economic Times reported, citing a person close to the deal.

Mumbai-based IndoSpace is jointly owned by homegrown private equity investor Everstone Capital and Realterm Global. It has $3.2 billion in assets under management in India to acquire and build industrial and logistics projects. This includes the $1.2 billion it raised for its third fund, which hit the final close in December.

Separately, early-stage venture capital firm WaterBridge Ventures is seeking to raise its second fund of $75-100 million, DealStreetAsia reported, citing industry sources. 

Its first fund had raised $30 million, the report said.

WaterBridge Ventures typically invests in seed and Series A rounds of startups. It backs companies in India or businesses with a strong India angle, where tech is an enabler, information on the firm's website states. It has made 15 investments in companies such as LetsMD, ed-tech startup Doubtnut, online lending platform ZipLoan and hyperlocal discovery and rewards platform Magicpin.

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