December 2007
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Tata Wins Jaguar, Land Rover

Tata Motors will be named on Dec. 21 as the winning bidder in the auction for Jaguar and Land Rover, according to a report in Britain's Birmingham Post newspaper. Tata will pay £1 billion, or about $2 billion, for the two Ford Motor luxury auto brands, said the newspaper, which is based near Jaguar and Land Rover's home in the British midlands. Ford spokesman Mark Truby said the company plans no announcements regarding a sale of the prestigious British brands. He said the U.S. automaker is still on track to announce the sale of Jaguar and Land Rover early next year. Tata is vying with another Indian automaker, Mahindra & Mahindra , as well as U.S. private equity firm One Equity Partners, for the units. Earlier this month those companies had submitted bids that ranged from $1.5 billion to $2 billion, said one person involved in the talks, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are confidential. [...]

Online portal Travelguru buys Desiya.com for $25 mn

Travelguru, the online travel portal has signed a strategic agreement to acquire Desiya.com, a B2B hotel portal based in Gurgaon. The deal size is $25 million. Desiya.com is a New Jersey-based online travel company with offices in London, New Jersey, Gurgaon and Kolkata. Speaking to Hindustan Times, Ashwin Damera, founder & CEO of Travelguru.com said, “Since Desiya operates in the B2B online travel and we operate in the B2C online travel space, this acquisition is complementary for us. It will make us leaders in the online hotel business space.” Talking about financials, Damera said that Travelguru, which has been backed by VC firms like Battery Ventures and Sequoia Capital India would break even in August or September 2008. By 31 March 2008, it expects revenues of $45 million. The company has seen two rounds of funding totaling to $25 million. Damera holds a founder’s equity share in the company as well. [...]

Kingfisher merger to create domestic giant

India's biggest discount carrier, Deccan, will merge with upmarket Kingfisher Airlines to create the nation's biggest domestic airline, officials said. The firm formed by the merger next year will keep the name Kingfisher, the flagship brand of Vijay Mallya's UB Group, officials from the two carriers said after a four-hour meeting. “The merger will bring about synergies across the board and lower the cost of operating both the airlines,” Deccan founder G R Gopinath told a Press conference in this southern Indian city where his airline is based. A merger would marry two airlines that had seemed unlikely bedfellows, with Gopinath earlier this year likening the flamboyant Mallya to someone from Venus and himself to a Martian who would never be able to do a deal. That was before he sold a 26 per cent stake in June to UB Group, accepting a 5.5-billion-rupee ($139-million) lifeline to keep his fleet in the skies as Deccan Aviation reeled under heavy losses. [...]

IDFC invests Rs 260 cr in Goodearth Maritime

IDFC private equity on Thursday unveiled its biggest investment till date with a $65 million (Rs 260 crore) play in the Chennai-based dry bulk shipping company Goodearth Maritime (GML). IDFC would pick up around 15-20% stake in the company, which part of the diversified Archean Group with interests in ores, minerals, industrial chemicals and renewable energy. The move comes at a time when GML is planning big ticket investment into a greenfield ship building yard at Cuddalore as well as foraying into on-shore and off-shore oil drilling sector. The transaction was sealed on Thursday evening, with 03 Capital advising GML on the deal. GML’s shipyard is expected to require a total investment of around $500 million in the first phase. With a capacity to build around 25-30 ships a year, including VLCCs, which could probably make it the biggest private sector shipyard in the country. The major players in private shipyard space are ABG and Bharati, both of which are based in Mumbai. [...]