August 2008
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Future Group to pick stake in Blue Foods

Indivision India Partners, the private equity arm of the Future Group, is close to picking up a stake, which could be in the range of 40%-50%, in food & beverages (F&B) entity Blue Foods, which operates a chain of restaurants across the country. The company’s flagship brands include Copper Chimney, Bombay Blue, Noodle Bar, Gelato Italiano, Spaghetti Kitchen & Cream Centre. It also has a franchiseee agreement with California-based coffee chain Coffee Beans & Tea Leaf. Sources said the new promoters will merge Pan Foods Solutions — a JV between Pantaloon Retail and Blue Foods — with Blue Foods and pick up stake in the merged entity. […]

Star may buy stake in Asianet

Star India is looking to buy a stake in Asianet Entertainment and add a Malayalam and Kannada channel to its bouquet. It announced the launch of its Bengali general entertainment channel, Star Jolsha, on Friday. The company recently called off its joint venture with Balaji and plans to buy out of the company with whom it planned to launch regional channels. Asianet owns three Malayalam channels, two Kannada channels under the Suvarna name, and radio channels. The company reportedly also had plans to launch a Telugu general entertainment channel. […]

PE funds join hands to put money in firms

Private equity (PE) firms favour clubbing when it comes to striking deals. Unlike in the past, when PE firms were single investors in a company, they now prefer to join hands in putting money in firms. Early this year, Temasek Holdings, an investment arm of the Singapore government which is the only foreign institutional investor in Tata Teleservices, seemed to be content being one of the investors in an eight-way deal to invest close to Rs 4,800 crore in Bharti Infratel. If eight is fine, then consider Idea Cellular’s transaction. The telecom company struck a nine-way deal with private equity funds, which is probably the largest ‘club deal’ in India by private equity firms. Similarly, Reliance Telecom roped in seven foreign institutional investors including New Silk Route, Galleon, Fortress, GLG, Quantum, DA Capital and HSBC Principal Investments. Although there is nothing unusual about PE firms adopting the group approach, what is striking this time is the coming together of a varied number of investors. […]

SRL Ranbaxy mulls merger with Fortis Health

Ahead of its proposed initial public offering (IPO),SRL Ranbaxy Ltd, a diagnostics firm owned by the promoters of Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd, might integrate itself with group drug retailer Fortis HealthWorld Ltd. The move aims to increase the valuation of the merged entity before it hits the capital market, said a person familiar with the development. “While Fortis HealthWorld was brought under the Religare brand recently (by changing its name to Religare Wellness Ltd last week), a decision to extend the same to SRL Ranbaxy will be announced soon,” he said, requesting anonymity. A Religare spokesman, however, said, “Though there are synergies between the two businesses, there are no merger plans as of today.” SRL, which runs a chain of pathological laboratories, plans to raise Rs200-250 crore through an IPO. It is part of the Religare group that has interests ranging from technology services and business process outsourcing to health care and financial services. […]

3i, Kotak, NSR eye stake in Balaji

A host of private equity (PE) firms have joined the race to acquire STAR’s stake in Balaji Telefilms. New Silk Route (NSR), 3i and Kotak are learnt to be in talks with the television production house to buy 25.99% stake, originally held by STAR. The promoters will now have to buy back the stake at Rs 190 per share within the stipulated time frame of 240 days. ET on Friday reported that ADAG and Eros International are also in the fray to acquire the STAR stake. A source told ET: “With the current slowdown in export-oriented sectors such as IT and ITeS, PE firms are increasingly looking at expanding their media investment portfolio. Especially with the emergence of addressable distribution system (DTH & CAS), content creation would witness increased PE fund infusion.” The source added that Balaji being a successful television content production house will be an attractive opportunity for PE players. […]