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True North to buy 51% stake in Max Bupa Health Insurance
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Private equity firm True North will acquire a 51% stake in Max Bupa Health Insurance Company for Rs 511 crore ($72 million) in cash, a year after a deal to take over another insurer fell through.

True North will buy the stake from Max India Ltd at an enterprise value of Rs 1,001 crore (around $140 million). Britain-based Bupa, the joint venture partner in Max Bupa, will remain invested in the insurer, Max India said in a stock-exchange filing.

This is the second PE control transaction in India’s health insurance sector after a consortium of WestBridge Capital, Madison Capital and ace stock market investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala agreed to buy Star Health & Allied Insurance Company Ltd last year.

For True North, this marks its second attempt to take over a health insurance company. In 2017, the PE firm had agreed to acquire Religare Health Insurance but the deal collapsed.

Max India said it plans to use the proceeds from the sale to invest in both existing and new business opportunities.

“We are rebalancing our portfolio of businesses with a much sharper focus on growing shareholder value, and this transaction is a step towards that journey,” said Analjit Singh, founder and chairman, Max Group.

The deal is subject to requisite regulatory approvals. Once the transaction is concluded, True North will nominate directors on Max Bupa's board while Max India's nominated directors will step down. The use of the Max brand will be phased out over a period of two years but the Bupa brand name will continue as before. 

Max India, which held stake in Max Bupa, is also the holding company for Max Healthcare and Antara Senior Living. 

The group owns the life insurance business through its holding company Max Financial Services. 

In 2016, the diversified group demerged its businesses into three separate listed entities to unlock value for the investors.

The group's manufacturing and other businesses are held through Max Ventures & Industries.

Two months ago, Max Healthcare and KKR-backed Radiant Life Care Pvt Ltd announced a merger.

The multi-tiered deal involves KKR-backed Radiant merging its healthcare assets into Max Healthcare as Analjit Singh-promoted Max India cedes its majority stake in the joint venture to KKR.

On the Radiant-KKR deal, Max India clarified that the divestment in Max Bupa will run in parallel and independent of the healthcare deal.

KPMG Corporate Finance acted as the lead financial advisor to Max India. AZB & Partners and Khaitan & Co acted as legal advisors to Max India and True North respectively.

True North has made investments across the financial services and healthcare sectors to the tune of Rs 5,700 crore.

In November last year, True North picked up a 17.4% stake in the financial services unit of Federal Bank.

In February 2017, True North acquired a majority stake in Home First Finance Company India for about $100 million (Rs 667 crore).

True North is also a promoter of Infinity Fincorp Solutions, which focuses on commodity financing.

The other True North portfolio companies in the financial services segment include Magma Fincorp and Fincare Business Services.

Another general insurance company, HDFC Ergo General Insurance, is also reported to be in advanced negotiations with Apollo Munich Health Insurance for an acquisition worth Rs 2,600 crore that will see the exit of German reinsurance company Munich Re.

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