Blackstone Pledges Gokaldas Stake - Private equity giant Blackstone has pledged its entire equity stake in Gokaldas Exports, the country's largest apparel exporter, to raise funds marking a rare instance in which a PE fund has resorted to this method to raise money. Regulatory filings for the October to December period in 2011 show that the company's foreign promoter, Blackstone FP Capital Partners Mauritius, has pledged its 68.27% stake. Blackstone availed the loan to enhance IRR (Internal Rate of Return) and achieve the desired hurdle rate. This was done at the time we made our investment. (Economic Times)

Madura In Talks With Armani, Hackett - Kumar Mangalam Birla is revving up the fashion play. Madura Fashion & Lifestyle, part of the $35-billion Aditya Birla Group, is holding talks with high-street names Giorgio Armani SpA and upmarket British clothier Hackett, besides striking a new deal with Esprit Holdings for the Indian market. Madura is set to win new alliances-with Birla readying fresh investments and stalling stake sale plans-after India's largest branded apparel maker bounced back to profit. (Times of India)

GDF Suez Eyes Stake Gujarat Gas - European gas and electricity major GDF Suez is keen to join the race for UK-based energy major BG's 65% stake in the Gujarat Gas Co, revving up competition for a significant chunk of the India's high-growth energy market that continues to lure big international firms. BG, which is already in talks with several bidders, including Germany's E.ON, domestic energy majors and international private equity funds, said it was "very pleased" with the interest in the stake sale but did not comment on specific bidders. (Economic Times)

VRL Logistics To Sell Wind, Cement Biz - Hubli-based transport major VRL Logistics Ltd (VRL) has firmed up plans to sell its wind power and cement business units and concentrate on its core business. The company, which operates India’s largest fleet of trucks, is re-entering the media business with a new Kannada newspaper in the pipeline. The company has an outstanding payment of Rs 78 crore from the Hubli Electricity Supply Company (Hescom) and an overdue interest payment is to the order of Rs 3 crore. (Business Standard)

GVK To Buy Two Thermal Plants In Andhra - Diversified group GVK is mulling the acquisition of two under-construction thermal power plants in Andhra Pradesh as the private developers executing these projects are facing a resource crunch and have offered to quit. Developers of these projects are facing financial constraints and therefore want to exit from the projects. GVK Power, which aims to become a 5,000-MW company in the next five years, is now engaged in the construction of four projects, including hydro and thermal projects. (Business Line)

Nova Medical Enters Chennai With Helios Buy - Ambulatory surgical centre group Nova Medical Centers has entered Chennai with the acquisition of Helios Hospitals in Velachery, a suburban hub in the city. Nova has also commenced work at Alwarpet to set up a super-specialty short-stay surgical facility by June. In addition, Nova has commissioned a multi-specialty polyclinic in Adyar. (Business Line)

Goldman Eyes Fidelity's India MF Business - Goldman Sachs Asset Management India is in advanced talks to purchase rival Fidelity India Fund Management. Fidelity, which started Indian operations in 2004, had Rs 9,000 crore assets under management until December 2011. Negotiations are on in the US and a deal, if concluded, could be announced by February. Goldman Sachs, a late entrant in the Rs 6.75 trillion Indian mutual fund industry in 2010, purchased Benchmark Asset Management last year which managed assets worth Rs 3,000 crore. (Indian Express)

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