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Sachin Bansal’s proposal to acquire Essel Mutual Fund gets CCI nod
Sachin Bansal

Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal has received approval of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to acquire Essel Mutual Fund, as he continues to expand his financial services business.

The anti-trust said in a statement it has given its approval to the proposal under its ‘green channel’ route, a mechanism that it had put in place in August. The mechanism allows the regulator to approve certain mergers and acquisitions faster if there are no horizontal or vertical overlaps and if the combining parties have no complementary business activities.

Bansal is acquiring Essel MF through his investment vehicle BAC Acquisitions Pvt. Ltd and Chaitanya India Fin Credit Pvt. Ltd. The financial details of the transaction couldn’t be ascertained.

Bansal had set up BAC in December last year, a few months after selling his stake in Flipkart to Walmart Inc. Chaitanya India Fin is a microlending unit of Chaitanya Rural Intermediation Development Services Pvt. Ltd, which Bansal acquired last month.

The acquisition is subject to approval from the Securities and Exchange Board of India.

Bansal’s bets, Essel’s woes

The Flipkart co-founder has made debt and equity investments in several companies in the financial services and fintech segments ever since leaving the online retailer.

Earlier on Monday, non-bank lender U Gro Capital Ltd said it had raised Rs 50 crore from Bansal by issuing non-convertible debentures.

Last month, Bansal acquired Chaitanya Rural Intermediation Development Services Pvt. Ltd by investing Rs 739 crore (around $104 million) in the company and taking charge as its CEO.

In June, VCCircle exclusively reported that Bansal made a debt investment through his company BAC Acquisitions Pvt. Ltd in an NBFC looking to go public. In July, Bansal made a debt investment of Rs 50 crore in consumer lending startup Kissht. That month, he also made a similar investment in the NBFC arm of a financial technology startup.

Meanwhile, the deal will help media tycoon Subhash Chandra’s Essel Group to raise capital and pare debt. The diversified group has businesses across the media, education, infrastructure, real estate and energy sectors. But it has been struggling for the past few months to repay its debts and has been looking to sell several businesses.

In late August, the group agreed to sell 10 operating solar energy plants to billionaire Gautam Adani-controlled Adani group for an enterprise value of Rs 1,300 crore.

In July, the group sold an 11% stake in its flagship Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd to Invesco Oppenheimer Developing Markets Fund for Rs 4,224 crore.

The group is also looking to sell its road assets and is said to be in talks with potential buyers including the government-backed National Investment and Infrastructure Fund, I Squared Capital-controlled Cube Highways and Canadian pension fund CDPQ.

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