Bharti Airtel Ltd. has emerged the frontrunner to acquire Loop Mobile, one of Mumbai's oldest cellular networks, as the company's owners, Dubaibased IP Khaitan and family, seek to exit the telecom sector. Discussions with Airtel have been going on for some time and have gathered momentum in recent weeks. But a final deal is dependent on clarity on guidelines governing mergers and acquisitions in the telecom sector and the renewal fee for Loop's licence, before discussions begin on the valuation and other commercial terms.  Loop's licence expires in September 2014. In 2005, Khaitan Holdings Group took ownership control of the company. (The Economic Times)

New Silk Route plans to buy Mumbai chain Moshe’s: Private equity firm New Silk Route is set to acquire Mumbai's swish cafe and restaurant chain Moshe's, signaling that global investor appetite for Indian consumption story remains intact. New Silk Route (NSR), a $1.4 billion India focused fund, would buy over 51% stake in Moshe's and ramp it up as the food services provider charts national expansion plans in the next few years. Investment bank Lodha Capital Markets advised on the transaction awaiting final formalities. The deal is part of NSR's ambitions to build a platform of Indian food and beverage companies in which it would buy controlling stakes. Last year, it acquired majority shares in south Indian fast food chain Adiga's, with an expanding foot print in Bangalore. (The Times Of India)

MphasiS plans for acquisitions: Bangalore-based IT Services company MphasiS, which managed to meet analyst expectations in the quarter ended June, is looking to grow its non-HP business going forward as way to cut risk. The company is also looking for acquisitions in the range of $30 million, and would target companies in the emerging technologies space. The firm is also planning to exiting some business verticals. (Business Line)

Gitanjali Gems seeks Rs 1,000 crore more in loans from banks: Gitanjali Gems, is fishing for a lifeline from lenders. The company, which has been hit by Reserve Bank's new rules on gold import, has approached banks for more than Rs 1,000 crore ($149.21 million) in loans. Earlier this week, the promoter, Mehul Choksi, met a consortium of banks, led by Allahabad Bank, seeking additional funds and conversion of non-fund-based limits into fund-based loans. The banks have an exposure of Rs 4,500 crore ($671 million) to the Gitanjali group, and two-thirds of it is to Gitanjali Gems, the flagship company that owns brands such as Nakshatra, Gili, Sangini and Asmi. (The Economic Times)

Power Grid sticks to Rs 16,000 crore borrowing plan this year: State-run Power Grid Corp. would go ahead with its Rs 16,000-crore ($2.38 billion) borrowing programme for this financial year notwithstanding the present difficult market conditions. The company has already raised close to Rs 9,000 crore ($1.34 billion) through a mix of instruments like external commercial borrowing, bonds and loans from multi-lateral funding agencies like World Bank and Asian Development Bank. The company would wait for at least a month before it goes ahead with its plans for the rest Rs 7,000 crore borrowing. (The Economic Times)

NCC plans to sell BOT assets to reduce debt: Hyderabad-based NCC Ltd. (NCCL) has decided to sell some of its build, operate and transfer (BOT) assets and other properties, including land parcels, to bring down debt on the company’s books. The BOT assets of the infrastructure development company include five road projects, which have commenced commercial operations. The company is currently, holding discussions with potential buyers for the sale of two toll projects located in western Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka for around Rs 200-250 crore. NCCL is also reported to have decided to exit from the two joint venture power projects in which it had made investments. While it is stated to have sold a 5% stake in the 100-Mw Himachal Sorang Power Limited, discussions are being held with interested company's for a stake sale in the 1,320-Mw coal fire project at Krishnapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. (Business Standard)

Temasek, IDFC to convert investments in GMR Infra, GMR Energy into equity: IDFC and Singapore-based Temasek, along with a clutch of private equity investors, might convert their $300-million-odd investment in GMR Infrastructure and GMR Energy into equity. The move would mean GMR Infrastructure would not have to buy back the compulsory convertible preference shares (CCPS) given to the PE investors. Temasek has the major share of investment, of $200 million. The move comes against the backdrop of the PE investors deciding not to exercise their rights to enforce the put option, which was to be effected by August 2013. This move also comes as a relief for GMR Infrastructure, which has been looking at various options to reduce its gearing. If the PE investors had exercised the put option, GMR would have had to buy back from them, further straining their balance sheet at a time when the firm is looking to infuse Rs 1,700 crore ($254 million) through the equity route to fuel its power projects during FY14. (Business Standard)

Courtesy: VCCEdge

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