PE firms eye stake in Pepe India; WestBridge consortium may up bid for Star Health
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US-based private equity firms Advent International, Carlyle Group and General Atlantic have been shortlisted to buy a controlling stake in the Indian arm of Spanish fashion brand Pepe Jeans, Mint reported, citing two people aware of the development.

Pepe Jeans is seeking a valuation of Rs 2,000 crore for its India unit, the report said.

Citing a person in the know, the report said Advent joined the fray two weeks ago.

Earlier, Pepe Jeans had held talks with US buyout firm KKR & Co. and home-grown private equity firm Everstone Capital Advisors, said the second person in the report.

The Netherlands-based Pepe Jeans Europe BV is the holding company of Pepe Jeans India.

Kotak Investment Banking was given the mandate by Pepe Jeans to give advice on the sale process, according to the report.

Pepe Jeans India’s net sales stood at Rs 427.6 crore and profit after tax at Rs 49.2 crore for the financial year ended March 2017.

Founded in 1973 in London, Pepe Jeans Group operates through two main brands -- Pepe Jeans and Hackett.

In 2015, L Catterton Asia and Lebanese investment firm M1 Group acquired a majority stake in Pepe Jeans Group.

In another development, a consortium of Indian private equity firm WestBridge Capital and share investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala is aiming to match the Rs 6,500 crore offer of ICICI Lombard General Insurance Co. for Star Health Insurance Co., The Economic Times reported, citing two people aware of the development.

The consortium is in talks with shareholders of Star Health Insurance to match the offer of the highest bidder, ICICI Lombard, said a person in the know. WestBridge-Jhunjhunwala had offered Rs 6,100 crore for the insurer.

PremjiInvest, the family office of Wipro chairman Azim Premji, and UK-based financial services company Prudential Plc. had made a joint bid of Rs 5,900 crore for the company, the report said.

Star Health Insurance’s board will meet on May 9 to decide on the bids, according to the report.

Last November, Star Health had shortlisted 8-10 bids from financial as well as strategic investors to sell its business.

The standalone health insurance firm’s promoter, Star Health Investments Pvt. Ltd, along with its investors, had started the process for the company’s sale in early 2017.

Its investors include ICICI Venture, Tata Capital Growth Fund, Sequoia Capital, Oman Insurance Company and Apis Partners.

Star Health started its operations in 2006. It offers health insurance, overseas medi-claim policies and personal accident cover. The company’s gross direct written premium was Rs 2,488.17 crore for the nine months ended December 2017.

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