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Etisalat close to buying 51% stake in Swan Tele

UAE’s telecom giant Emirates Telecommunications Corp (Etisalat) is close to picking up a majority stake in Mumbai- based Swan Telecom. Etisalat has been scouting for an Indian partner for more than 6 months and was earlier in talks with other players including Spice Communication and Videocon-backed Datacom. Swan is among the few operators which had recently bagged licences to offer telecom services in the country. According to industry sources, talks between Etisalat and promoters of Swan are moving towards the latter picking up around 51 per cent stake in the Indian company. [...]

Suntory may pick 15% stake in Mallya's United Spirits

Japanese spirits giant Suntory is believed to be interested in acquiring a 10-15% stake in Vijay Mallya’s United Spirits (USL) for about $600 million. USL is already in preliminary talks with multinational drinks giants Diageo, Pernod Ricard and Bacardi for a stake sale. A potential sale could value USL, the world’s third largest spirits marketer by volume, at around $6 billion. A top USL source confirmed Suntory’s interest “for a strategic alignment,” adding that details of Suntory’s interest are still being gathered. In November last, ET had first reported on Mr Mallya’s move to offload shares in the flagship spirits company. “There are several interested players who know it is a one-time chance to get their distribution act right in India. And I will be looking at unlocking maximum shareholder value,” Mr Mallya told ET. The USL stock closed at Rs 1,313 on Wednesday, valuing a 15% stake at around $430 million. [...]

Kraft Foods Mulls India Foray Via Stake Buy in Local Co

Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT) is finalizing plans to buy a stake in an Indian company, possibly a Mumbai-based biscuit maker, the Economic Times reported Thursday citing unnamed sources. Buying a stake would put the company on the fast track in the country, as starting from scratch could take up to two to three years, a source said in the report. The company has already appointed key officials for its India plans, the report said. (Trading Markets) [...]

Bharti Airtel launches $44 million venture fund

Bharti Airtel Ltd , India's No. 1 mobile operator, launched a venture fund on Thursday with an initial 2 billion rupees ($44 million) to promote content and technology development. India, with nearly 300 million mobile users, is the second-largest wireless market in the world after China, and still has the potential for further huge growth as only just over a quarter of its billion-plus population use cellphones now. Operators are signing up 8-9 million users every month, and consultancy Gartner expects 737 million connections by 2012. The growth potential has encouraged mobile operators to step up investment on technology and content as they look to tap underdeveloped rural areas. (Reuters) [...]

S.Africa's Datatec buys stake in India's Inflow

South African IT company Datatec Ltd said it has acquired a 50.01 percent stake in Inflow Technologies Private Ltd, an Indian information and communications technology (ICT) distribution business, for an undisclosed amount. The company said on Thursday the remaining stake in Inflow Technologies Private Ltd will be held by management and existing shareholders. Inflow is a value-added distributor focusing on technology enablement and distribution of security, storage and networking products, and services. It has alliances with 22 global technology vendors. [...]

PE funds: real estate developers find performance pays

Worried that real estate developers will not be able to complete projects in time in a market where demand is slowing and credit is becoming tighter, private equity firms that invest in such projects have increasingly started doing so in phases or instalments. “The problem in investing at one time is that you don’t really have any link to progress in the project you have invested in,” says Aashish Kalra, managing director of the New York-based, India-focused real estate fund, Trikona Capital Ltd. “Funding should always be performance linked.” Private equity firms are a preferred source of funds for developers who are finding it increasingly difficult to raise money from banks or retail investors. And the cost of debt has increased to around 16-18% a year. [...]

Capital crunch, valuations may hit PE funding in infrastructure

The rising cost of capital may stall crucial infrastructure projects and hold back private equity (PE) funds worried about their valuations, exposing other industries to the risk of an investment slowdown as well, PE managers say. Infrastructure companies such as power project developers accounted for more than 32% of all PE-funded deals in the country last year and 37% through the first half of this year. India needs investment worth tens of billions of dollars to reinforce its deficient public works, such as power plants, roads, ports and airports, to sustain economic growth. Debt capital costs have increased for infrastructure companies in a regime of rising interest rates. Developers who fear they wouldn’t be able to service higher-cost debt may put borrowing plans on hold, delaying the execution of their projects, and in turn, lowering their equity valuations. [...]

VC funds no more only technology-driven

As the tides of investments change over time, venture capital (VC) funds are shifting their focus to businesses related to consumer demand such as education, media and entertainment, food & beverages and alternative energy. This focus assumes significance as it was till six months ago that technology was the prime investment target of VC funds. Recently, Matrix Partners India invested $7 million in pre-school educator Tree House Education and Accessories and Helion Venture Partners invested $4 million in Humming Bird Suites, a Bangalore-based service apartment operator.VC funds are raising more funds and entering into newer deals. Despite the slowdown in the economy, the industry has made 20-25 investments in each quarter. [...]

GTL group likely to acquire Indmar

Global Holdings Company (GHC), the holding company of telecom firms GTL and GTL Infrastructure, is in talks to acquire Mumbai-based Indmar Aviation Services Company for an undisclosed amount. The deal is expected to be concluded within the next 15-20 days. Global Projects and Aviations, a subsidiary of Global Holdings Company (GHC), will be the designated company to acquire Indmar, sources close to the development said. Cash-strapped Indmar, which provides maintenance and repair services to general aviation, was in talks with investors for fund-raising. [...]

Gammon buys 50% stake in Italian co

Construction firm Gammon India on Wednesday announced the acquisition of a 50% stake in Italy-based power firm Sofinter for an undisclosed sum. The deal is Gammon’s third acquisition in the Italian market this year. In a regulatory filing, Gammon has informed BSE that its step-down offshore subsidiary has acquired 50% equity of Sofinter, the holding company of Ansaldo Caldaie, one of the major power equipment supplier in Italy. Though Gammon did not disclose the deal size, a source close to the development said it’s around $70 million. The deal would also help Gammon to consolidate its presence in Indian power sector as Ansaldo Caldaie Boilder — the Indian subsidiary of Ansaldo Caldaie — has begun operations. [...]