The stake dilution process of JK Helene Curtis Ltd, the personal grooming and toiletries business arm of the Raymond Group, is in the final stage. According to people in the know, Everstone Capital, a leading private equity (PE) firm with India-focused investments, is a front runner to acquire a significant minority stake in the company. The deal size will be Rs 150-160 crore ($25 million-$26.5 million) for a 20-25% stake, sources said. Lincoln International is advising JK Helene Curtis in its fund-raising process. (Business Standard) 

Microsoft Ventures to pick 15 start-ups for Accelerator programme: Microsoft Ventures is going to pick 14-15 more start-ups this winter to take the total number of start-ups it enlisted so far to 50. “We have covered 34 so far, with 85 per cent of them attracting funding,” Ravi Narayan, Director of Microsoft Ventures. An initiative of the IT major, Microsoft Ventures has just called for applications from start-ups to be handheld under its Accelerator programme in the next batch. For the fifth batch, Microsoft Ventures will receive applications till June 10 and a list comprising 50 short-listed technology start-ups will be announced in the same month. It will hold one-on-ones with the representatives of short-listed firms to pick the final 14-15. The fourth batch of 16 start-ups will graduate in May. (Business Line) 

Vietnam offers two more exploration blocks to ONGC Videsh: Vietnam has offered two more exploration blocks to state-run ONGC Videsh (OVL) in addition to the five already offered, government and industry official said. The company has selected only one of the five blocks that were offered in November, and will assess the two new blocks also. All the blocks have been offered to the company without competitive bidding. The company is also looking for an equity partner to jointly explore the Block-128, which is controversial because of the territorial dispute between China and Vietnam over rights over the South China Sea, where it is located, a company executive said. OVL has 100% participating interest. (The Economic Times) 

Jindal brothers in rival talks to save Lucchini: Billionaire brothers, Naveen and Sajjan Jindal, could be the answer Pope Francis is looking for. Their companies, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd and JSW Steel Ltd, are in competing talks to buy parts of insolvent Italian steel maker Lucchini, people with direct knowledge of the matter said. Pope Francis earlier this month called for those in power to use their “creativity” to resolve Lucchini’s problems. Italy’s second-largest steel maker has tried to sell itself for years but has so far failed to attract investors, forcing it to recently begin idling capacity and putting at risk up to 4,000 jobs. For the Jindals, Lucchini would give them an opportunity to accelerate an expansion of their operations outside of India where steel demand growth has been soft. (Live Mint) 

Real estate based private equity firms look promising for India's affordable housing sector: India's affordable and low-income housing sector, which is short of millions of homes, is set for expansion with the segment finding favour with real estate-focused private equity funds. New York-based not-forprofit venture fund Acumen is looking to invest in this space in 2014, while Mumbai-based PE fund Avenue Venture Partners has tied up with Pune's Vastushodh Projects to invest in their affordable housing projects. Another PE fund, Brick Eagle Capital Advisory, plans to incubate companies to fill gaps in the affordable-housing ecosystem. The private equity fund is planning to raise $100 million in offshore funds to acquire 1,000 acres in and around Mumbai this year. The fund has already invested and acquired 900 acres across Chennai, Mysore and Mumbai. Affordable housing fund Avenue Venture Partners recently invested.`20 crore in Vastushodh's affordable housing project on the Pune-Solapur highway. The project entails 1,500 units priced between Rs6 lakh and Rs14 lakh. (The Economic Times)

Courtesy: VCCEdge

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