February 2008
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Venture Capital Investment in India Reaches a Record $928 Million in 2007

Venture capitalists invested some $928 million in 80 deals for entrepreneurial companies in India during 2007, according to the Quarterly India Venture Capital Report published today by Dow Jones VentureSource. This was a whopping 166% increase over the $349 million invested in 36 deals in 2006 and easily the highest total on record for the region. The report found nearly 48% of all venture financing deals in India were for Information Technology (IT) companies, as 38 rounds were completed, accounting for $384 million, more than India's entire 2006 venture investment total. The most popular recipients of venture capital in the IT industry were companies in the Web-heavy “information services” sector, which accounted for 22 deals and nearly $141 million in investment. Among the deals in this area was the $10 million second round for Bangalore-based Four Interactive, an online provider of local information on food, events, lifestyle, shopping and more. [...]

Emaar MGF’s aborted IPO costs Citigroup's PE dear

As a fallout of the Emaar MGF Ltd share sale that was withdrawn earlier this month after investors stayed away, the private equity arm of Citigroup Inc., which was an investor in the company, has had to abort a proposed sale of Rs325 crore worth of Emaar MGF shares to DE Shaw, an investment firm. Citigroup would have likely gained Rs200 crore from the deal. Citigroup’s stake in real estate developer Emaar MGF was through its subsidiary Citi Venture Capital International. Its deal with DE Shaw was contingent on the initial public offering (IPO) going through with the transfer of shares to be made at the issue price, according to the offer document filed by Emaar MGF with stock market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India. Confirming that the deal has been cancelled, Ajay Relan, managing partner (regional head, India) of Citi Venture Capital International, a private equity arm of Citigroup, said: “We will now wait till the IPO,” implying a second attempt at fund-raising by Emaar MGF, which has said it will look to raise money when the situation in the market improves. [...]

Reliance Communications acquires Anupam Global Soft of Uganda

Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications on Thursday said the company has acquired Uganda-based Anupam Global Soft, a company holding telecom service provider licence in the African country. RComm also announced an investment of about Rs 2,000 crore over the next five years to set up telecom network in Uganda. RComm is planning to offer mobile, fixed line, internet, national and international long distance services, in addition to Wi-Max and Wi-Fi services in Uganda through the newly acquired company, a statement from the company said. Anupam Global Soft holds licences for providing public infrastructure and public services, issued by Uganda Communications Commission. The company has received spectrum and plans to launch mobile services by 2008-end. “RComm is targeting to invest up to $500 million (about Rs 2,000 crore) in establishing a high quality integrated telecom network in Uganda to capture the significant growth potential in the emerging African market,” the release said. Uganda has a population of about 30 million and in March 2007 about 10% of this population was using mobile phones. [...]

PE funds buy 3% in Acme Tele Power for Rs 400 cr

Mauritius-based private equity funds Monsoon India Inflection and Jackson Heights Investments have picked up a 3.35% stake in the Gurgaon-based Acme Tele Power for Rs 400 crore. The deal pegs the valuation of Acme, which manufactures and supplies energy conservation solutions for telcos, at around Rs 11,940 crore (just under $3 billion). This marks the second round of private placements in Acme. Last year, Acme had offloaded a 1.66% stake in the company to three PE firms – DB International, Earthstone Holdings and Kotak Mahindra Capital – for Rs 197 crore. Acme Tele Power’s promoter and managing director Manoj Upadhyay confirmed the development and said this would the final private placement before the company’s plans to tap capital market. The proposed IPO will see Acme’s promoters offer about 17.3 million shares for sale which will reduce the promoters’ stake to 84.6% from the current 94.7%. The company has already filed a draft red herring prospects (DHRP) with Sebi for its float. [...]

HDFC Bank-CBoP merger on cards?

Though both HDFC Bank and Centurion Bank of Punjab (CBoP) have denied any M&A talks, reports suggest that a mega merger between two of the leading private sector banks is on the cards. A financial daily has even stated that the Boards of Directors of the two Mumbai-based private banks are scheduled to meet on Saturday to discuss modalities of the proposed merger. HDFC Bank is likely to acquire its smaller rival in an all-stock deal worth more than Rs100bn, the business newspaper reports. The deal could be carried out at Rs57 per CBoP share, says the financial daily. The newspaper adds further that on Wednesday, officials of both the banks were huddled in a closed-door meeting with a leading investment banker to thrash out the share-swap deal. [...]

Foseco India sells 20% stake to Cookson Group

Foseco India sold 20% stake in the company to Cookson Group Plc. for about Rs 536.4 million through an open offer. Cookson Group Plc has bought 1,277,292 equity shares, representing around 20% stake in Foseco India, at a price of Rs 420 a share. Following the acquisition of 20% stake in Foseco, the shareholding of the public in the firm stands at 13.52%. Prior to the public offer, the public shareholding stood at 33.52%.(My Iris) [...]