ArcelorMittal sweetens offer for Essar Steel; SoftBank eyes stake in FirstCry
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ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, has increased its offer to acquire debt-laden Essar Steel Ltd, media reports said on Wednesday.

The billionaire Lakshmi Mittal-controlled company offered an additional equity infusion of Rs 8,000 crore to acquire the bankrupt steelmaker, according to Mint and The Economic Times. This infusion is over and above the Rs 42,000 crore it had previously promised to pay, the reports said, without identifying the people who revealed the information.

Essar Steel is undergoing insolvency resolution at the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). The company has a debt of around Rs 49,000 crore.

According to the reports, Essar's lenders are voting on the resolution plans submitted by ArcelorMittal and Vedanta and results could be announced today.

The resolution proposal needs approval from at least 66% of creditors for it to be accepted at the NCLT. Last Friday, Essar's lenders had selected ArcelorMittal as the preferred bidder.

Meanwhile, Pune-based Brainbees Solutions Pvt. Ltd, which operates online baby products retailer FirstCry, is in early discussions with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding and Japan’s SoftBank to raise at least $100-150 million, Mint reported.

Citing three people aware of the development, the report said FirstCry had discussions with Temasek and Chinese internet conglomerate Tencent and they may not invest in this round.

FirstCry last raised $34 million (Rs 226 crore then) in October 2016 from Mahindra Group, Switzerland-based private equity fund Adveq, Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan and existing investors including IDG Ventures India.

At the time, it had acquired Mahindra & Mahindra’s babycare business BabyOye in a cash-and-stock deal worth Rs 362.1 crore ($54.3 million).

Separately, The Economic Times reported that SoftBank is in advanced discussions to invest $200 million in FirstCry, at a valuation of about $800-900 million.

Citing two people aware of the development, the report said investment bank Morgan Stanley is advising FirstCry on the proposed deal with SoftBank.

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