US retail giant Walmart is learnt to be in talks with Sunil Mittal-led Bharti group to explore ways to exit the six-year-old 50:50 joint venture in cash-and-carry (wholesale) business. This could mean an end to the talks for a possible partnership between the two firms in the multi-brand retail space less than a year after 51% foreign investment was allowed in the sector. A corporate lawyer close to the development said the American retailer was discussing the sale of its equity in the JV with Bharti. According to him, buyback of Walmart shares by Bharti was imminent. Walmart is not happy with the way the JV is progressing. According to a source in the know, the ongoing Enforcement Directorate (ED) probe into Walmart's $100-million March 2010 investment in buying compulsory convertible debentures (CCDs) in Cedar Support Service, a company owned by Bharti Enterprises that controlled Bharti Retail, is seen as the biggest hurdle for the JV. (Business Standard)

NMDC plans to arrange loan for Australian unit: NMDC Ltd has decided not to invest in the rights issue of its Australian subsidiary, Legacy Iron Ore Ltd. Instead, it has promised to arrange loan facilities for Australian$3 million through lenders. Had NMDC participated, it would have had to fork out A$1.25 million in its 49.6 per cent exploration subsidiary. Legacy Iron’s board dropped the rights issue plan and opted for the borrowing plan after NMDC expressed its unwillingness to participate in the proposed issue. The extended date of the issue expired on August 12. (Business Line)

IVFA inches closer to investing in former GCPL MD Mahendran’s new biz: Three private equity investors are in advanced stages of talks to back the new businesses that are being created by Arumugham Mahendran, former managing director of Godrej Consumer Products Ltd. India Value Fund Advisors (IVFA) has offered a term sheet to Mahendran. There are more than three PE firms that are in talks with him right now. India Value Fund, among a few others. The funding from IVFA could be for the pesticide services business. MAPE Advisory Group is an adviser to Mahendran for these transactions. Two months after he stepped down as the managing director of GCPL, Mahendran is now creating two new ventures food and beverage (F&B) and pesticide services. (Live Mint)

Baring PE plans to buy 42% stake in Hexaware Technologies for $400 million: The board of Hexaware Technologies is meeting on Friday to approve the purchase of a controlling stake in the company by Baring Private Equity Partners Asia for about $400 million. This would also end one-and-half year of negotiations that Hexaware has had with several financial and strategic players, including Japan's NEC and home grown L&T Infotech. Barings will buy out the 42% stake from the family of Hexaware founder Atul Nishar and private equity firm General Atlantic Partners. This will be followed by a mandatory open offer for an additional 26%. The transaction is expected to value Hexaware closer to $700 million. ()

JP Associates to soon announce cement unit sale to UltraTech: Manoj Gaur's JP Associates is expected to announce the sale of it's Gujarat-based cement unit to UltraTech in the next few days. JP Associates could raise close to Rs 4000 crores ($614 million) by selling the 4.8 mt cement plant to the KM Birla's UltraTech Cement. Mounting pressure from the lenders of JP Associates could be the prime reason for the deal to finally materialize after a year of discussions. Jaypee Group has a total debt of Rs 64,000 crores ($9.8 billion) and besides the cement unit sale, the group is engaged in multiple discussions to sell power assets as well. The company could be looking at raising over Rs 10,000 crores ($1.5 billion) via asset sales. Sources with direct knowledge share that Sanjiv Goenka's CESC is in talks with JP Power for buying out the 500 MW Bina Power Project and the valuation talks are hovering around Rs 1,500 to 1,750 crores. ()

Thomson Reuters plans to buy majority stake in Omnesys: International news agency Thomson Reuters is buying a majority stake in Bangalore-based software service provider for securities and currency trades, Omnesys Technologies, for an undisclosed amount. Thomson Reuters can confirm that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Omnesys. A full announcement will be made once the transaction is complete. Shrikant Pandit, founder and managing director of Omnesys holds 60% stake, Dotex, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the National Stock Exchange, holds 26% stake, while Intel Capital, the investment arm of Intel Corporation, holds 12%. ()

Bharti Airtel is in talks to sell its Sri Lankan operations to Etisalat: Bharti Airtel Ltd. is in advanced discussions to sell off its Sri Lankan operations to Abu Dhabi's Etisalat, said two persons aware of the development. Standard Chartered Bank is advising the Indian company in the transaction. Bharti Airtel Lanka, which has a subscriber base of 1.7 million, has been valued between $110 million and $130 million. ()

Manulife may acquire 26% stake in ING Life: Canada-based Manulife Financial Services is in advanced talks with battery maker Exide Industries to buy 26% stake in ING Life Insurance, people close to the development said. Led by the Raheja famil Exide has been searching for a partner since January when Dutch Financial group ING exited the insurance company. The deal value could not be ascertained but ING Life was valued at about Rs 1,100 crore when ING exited. The Canada-based insurer has been scouting for a partner to foray into India for over three years. If the talks are successful, it will be the first major investment by an insurance company in India since April, when Sumitomo tied up with Delhi-based Max India. New York Life and ING have exited Indian operations while British banking giant HSBC is in talks to follow suit. ()

Stemcor may sell only a minority stake: Stemcor Holdings Ltd, a London-based steel trader, is planning to sell a minority stake in its Indian assets, belying investors’ expectations of an outright sale. The UK-based company said its banker is still looking at ways new investors can be brought in. They are not offering majority equity. Their offer is only up to 40% to 45% stake, said an executive in one of the steel companies that has shown interest in bidding for Stemcor’s Indian assets. Goldman Sachs has been appointed to look at ways Stemcor could bring in new investors to its Indian assets or scale down its own investment. (Live Mint)

Jaypee Cap is in talks with IDFC PE & OIF to sell 15% stake in NCDEX: Delhi-based broker Jaypee Capital Services, the anchor investor in agri futures exchange NCDEX, is in advanced talks with domestic and foreign private equity players to sell a chunk of its 22.4% stake in the bourse. The shareholder, according to the persons, is close to selling 14.7% to IDFC Private Equity Fund and Oman Investment Fund for Rs 132 crore ( Rs 180 a share). About 5% would go to IDFC PE for Rs 44 crore while 9.7% would be sold to OIF for Rs 88 crore. The two deals value NCDEX at Rs 912 crore, lower than rival MCX's value of Rs 1,436 crore. Motilal Oswal's Investment Banking arm is Jaypee's advisor. However, of the 132 crore that Jaypee could receive, Rs 43 crore will have to be paid by the shareholder to NCDEX because of the investor's inability to ramp up volumes on the bourse over three years from November 2010. ()

Courtesy: VCCEdge

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