The Mobile Store in Talks to Buy Calling Cards Company, Matrix – Essar group owned The Mobile Store (TMS) is in talks to buy international calling cards company Matrix Cellular Services (MCS) as it looks to expend into a new to boost its revenues. Matrix provides country specific mobile SIM and data cards to international travellers and is a market leader in the calling card space. Though discussions have taken place between the two companies, TMS has not yet made an offer to Matrix. According to sources, Matrix is looking at a valuation of at least three times its current revenues. KPMG is advising Matrix in the talks. Matrix is expected to end the fiscal year to end-March with revenues of Rs 150 crore and has set itself a sales target of Rs 230 crore for the next fiscal year. Sources also suggest that the two companies have been in talks for the past three months, but got stuck on arriving at an appropriate valuation. (The Economic Times)
Baring Hikes Stake in Mphasis to 12.2% – Private equity player Baring has scaled up its stake in IT exporter MphasiS by 3.6% to 12.2% for Rs 129 crore. The PE firm bought nearly 76 lakh shares in a bulk deal from Merrill Lynch Capital Markets on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) on Friday. The additional investment by the PE firm comes at a time when foreign fund flows have almost dried up across sectors. The move assumes significance in the wake of the recent ownership change in MphasiS. EDS, which holds over 60% in the firm, has been acquired by Hewlett-Packard (HP) globally. Aberdeen Asset Managers and HSBC Global Funds hold 3% and 2.7%, respectively in MphasiS. MphasiS founder Jaithirth Rao continues to hold a 1.4% stake in the firm. (The Economic Times)
Pyramid Saimira Open to Selling Arms for Raising Funds – Theatre chain Pyramid Saimira (PSTL) on Friday said it is planning to partially or fully sell some of its subsidiaries to help the company bridge its working capital gap of Rs 60 crore. Faced with losses in its theatre and movie distribution businesses, PSTL will also reduce the number of movie screens it runs in the country. It has secured the board’s in-principle approval to reorganise its production and distribution divisions by the end of this fiscal year. The board has also authorised any strategic sale that may be required to effectively reorganise and revitalise the subsidiaries. The board also okayed a writedown of Rs 76.94 crore in the books of PSTL so that the current books reflect the realisable value of investments. (The Economic Times)
Sun Pharma Extends Tender Offer to Taro – Sun Pharmaceuticals, on Friday, extended its tender offer to Taro Pharmaceuticals till March 20. The extension was to comply with an order issued by the Supreme Court of Israel prohibiting the closing of the offer until the court decides on the appeal made by Taro’s non-promoter directors against the offer. The mediation process between Sun Pharma and the Taro promoters entered into at the recommendation of the Supreme Court is ongoing. (The Economic Times)
Dewan Housing Finance Board Approves Raising Up To Rs 105 Crore – The Board of Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd, on Friday, approved raising up to Rs 105 crore through issue of equity shares. The mortgage lender had said on Feb 27 its board will consider a rights issue in a meeting scheduled for Friday. (Reuters)
Geodesic to Buy Back Shares – IT firm Geodesic, on Friday, surged over 11%, on the Bombay Stock Exchange after the company said it would buyback its equity shares from the existing shareholders through open market at a maximum price of Rs 75 a piece. The board of directors has approved the maximum buyback price of Rs 75 per share. In January, the board had approved a proposal to buyback 25% of its equity shares through open offer. (Business Standard)
Singapore Cargo, Intel, IBM Eye Stake in Deccan Cargo – After names like Anil Ambani and Azim Premji’s investment arms that were apparently interested, IBM Venture Capital and Singapore Cargo have shown interest in GR Gopinath’s end-to-end logistics venture, Deccan Cargo. The two seem likely to join Intel Capital as the three investors who will cumulatively invest around $55 million in this venture, which is hoping to take off by June 2009. Industry sources say Intel Capital has shown definite interest in investing $25 million in this venture. A time bound proposal given by Intel had recently expired, but it has renewed it. IBM Venture Capital is understood to have shown interest for a small equity exposure, of around $3 million, in this venture. (Business Standard)
UB Group To Sell Stake in Its Flagship Beer Company – Vijay Mallya-led United Breweries Group is in talks to sell a portion of its 37.5% equity in the group’s flagship beer company, United Breweries Ltd (UBL), to its partner Heineken NV. However, the current talks do not involve the Kingfisher brand as the UB Group wants to retain its mineral water as well as aviation business under this brand. The Indian investment banking arm of Swiss bank UBS AG is advising UB Group in the deal, while Heineken is being advised by NM Rothschild and Sons Ltd.
According to the bankers, Heineken has offered a price of Rs125 per share, a 47% premium on the company’s current market price. The group is currently also in talks with three large multinational liquor firms, including the world’s largest spirits firm Diageo Plc., to offload a significant stake in group company United Spirits Ltd (USL). The promoter holding in UBL is worth Rs766.35 crore going by the closing price of its share on Friday. (LiveMint.com)
Aditya Birla Nuvo Buys 76% Stake in Apollo Sindhoori – Aditya Birla Nuvo on Friday completed the acquisition of 76% stake in retail broking firm Apollo Sindhoori Capital Investments for over Rs 71 crore. Aditya Birla Nuvo now holds 4.21 crore shares in the capital investments company. The company had acquired over 3.10 crore shares amounting to 56% stake in Apollo Sindhoori Capital investments for a consideration of Rs 198.8 crore by way of share purchase agreement (SPA) last year, which triggered the open offer. Pursuant to the open offer, Aditya Birla Nuvo further acquired over 1.10 crore shares at a price of Rs 64.08 per share. (The Economic Times)
US Fund Picks Up 1.7% Stake in HDFC – Foreign fund house Growth Fund of America Inc on Friday picked up 1.7% stake in HDFC worth Rs 560 crore from the open market. Capital Group AC the Growth Fund of America Inc has purchased over 48.35 lakh shares worth Rs 560.61 crore according to the block deal data available on the Bombay Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchange. On the BSE, Capital Group AC The Growth Fund of America Inc purchased over 22.66 lakh shares of HDFC at Rs 1160.48 a piece, aggregating to Rs 262.96 crore. At the same time, the foreign fund house purchased over 25.60 lakh shares of the housing finance company at Rs 1158.63 a piece, resulting in total purchase of Rs 297.65 crore. (The Economic Times)
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