June 2011
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KK Modi eyes 51% in Godfrey Phillips

The KK Modi group is set to wrest majority control in cigarette maker Godfrey Phillips India (GPI) from American tobacco major Philip Morris as the Indian business house leads the company's charge into noncigarette segments such as beedi and chewing pan masala , potentially to the discomfort of the foreign partner. GPI, a Rs 3,000-crore publicly-listed company, is a joint venture between the Modis and Philip Morris who each held 36% stake originally. However, changing equations , and the new diversification plans-led by the Indian promoter-saw the Modis pick up an additional 11% stake from the foreign partner last year, taking up their holding to 47%. Modi, chairman of Modi group, told TOI that as per an agreement between the partners, he has the “right” to take up his holding to 51% by buying further into Philip Morris' holding to get a majority control of the company, India's second-biggest cigarette maker that sells the “Four Square” brand and also distributes the iconic Marlboro brand (from Philip Morris stable). […]

StanC in race for Redington pie

Blackstone and Standard Chartered Private Equity are vying to acquire a large chunk of the promoter stake in Redington India Ltd, one of the country's oldest and leading distribution firm of telecom and IT products. Singapore-based NRI conglomerate Kewalram Chanrai Group is set to dilute just under 15% stake to one private equity investor for roughly Rs 500 crore, said sources familiar with the development. […]

Molson Coors buys 51% stake in Cobra

The fifth largest brewer in the world, Molson Coors is buying 51% stake in Cobra India, making it a lateentrant into one of the fastest growing beer markets in Asia. The NYSE-listed company, whose brands include Coors Light, Molson Canadian and Carling is investing $35 million in Cobra India, which will be christened as Molson Coors Cobra India. Karan Bilimoria, the founder chairman of Cobra Beer, will hold the remaining 49% in the new JV. This investment includes stake-purchase and capital expenditure for expanding the company's brewery in Bihar. TOI had reported about the deal in its edition dated November 25, 2010. […]

Angel investors buy Evam ticket

It's play time for theatres in Chennai, with one of them catching the attention of angel investors (names withheld). Evam Entertainment, an English theatre group, received a funding of Rs 40 lakh for its venture Sideways Training. Sideways provides training to corporate houses using theatre as a medium. It has already conducted workshops for IT majors such as Google, Cognizant and Sify. The funding – claimed to be the first for a playhouse – is significant considering such moves will help theatre as a sector to move away from a patronage-based to a revenue-generating model. Most theatre groups are sponsorshipdriven . “We are moving away from the sponsorship model,” says Karthik Kumar, co-founder of Evam, whose major productions include Chetan Bhagat's Five Point Someone. […]

Fidelity Fund Invests $15 Million In Classteacher Learning Systems

Classteacher Learning Systems Ltd. has received $15 million from a Fidelity fund for a minority stake in the Indian educational content provider. The money from Fidelity Growth Partners India Ltd., a private-equity arm of the global fund management company, will be used to expand Classteacher Learning's product portfolio, the Indian company said in a press release. Classteacher Learning didn't specify the stake it sold. Two members of FIL Capital Advisors (India) Ltd., the private-equity advisory arm of Fidelity Growth, will join the board of Classteacher Learning. […]

Carlyle Group invests Rs112 crore in Visen Industries news

Carlyle Group, the Washington-based private equity firm yesterday invested Rs112 crore ($25 million) in India's Visen Industries Ltd, a manufacturer of water-based polymer emulsions. Carlyle has invested the money from its $1.04 billion fund, FCV III, a part of its Asia Growth Partners IV (CAGP IV), which invests in invests in in key Asian markets such as India, Korea and China. “Visen's business is a play on the strong consumption led demand growth across paints, textiles, adhesives and construction in India and other emerging markets. Visen has a clear track record of growth and a well defined strategic roadmap for future expansion,” said Carlyle Asia Growth Capital head and managing director, Wayne Tsou in a statement. […]

Janalakshmi raises '65 cr from PE firms

In what could be a revival of investor interest in firms offering credit to the poor, microlender Janalakshmi Financial Services Pvt. Ltd (JFS) has raised '65 crore in its third round of funding from private equity (PE) firms. “Coming after a major crisis in the sector, this is a major transaction and is a clear sign that the tide is turning for microfinance,” said Ramesh Ramanathan, chairman of JFS, which focuses on lending to the urban poor. The number of deals involving investments in microfinance companies has fallen this year although the quantum has remained almost the same. In the first six months of 2010, seven investments worth $75 million ('336 crore today) were made in microfinance companies; between January and June, only four investments (including the one in JFS) worth $69 million have been made, according to Venture Intelligence, which tracks deals involving venture capital and PE firms. […]

Three PE companies acquire UnitedLex co-founder Ajay Agrawal's stake for Rs 75.3 crore

In one of the larger deals in the legal outsourcing industry, three venture capital firms have picked up the entire stakeholding of co-founder Ajay Agrawal in UnitedLex Corporation , a legal process outsourcing firm. Existing investors, Helion Venture Partners and Canaan Partners, along with private equity major Sequoia Capital have together invested 75.3 crore (about $17 million) to pick up Agrawal's holding in UnitedLex, according to a person with direct knowledge of the transaction. The deal which closed on Thursday, gives the three PE firms an 18.1 % stake in the company that has been valued at 400 crore (approximately $92.5 million). “The deal has been completed and I have received the money in my bank,” said Ajay Agrawal who will now exit the firm that he co-founded in late 2006. Executives at Sequoia Capital and Helion Venture did not respond to email questions sent by ET. […]

Fidelity invests $15-mn in Mind Shaper

Private equity firm Fidelity Growth Partners India has invested about $15 million (Rs 67 crore) to acquire an undisclosed minority stake in Delhi-based Mind Shaper Technologies. Mind Shaper, which operates under the Classteacher Learning Systems brand, is into K-12 educational content in the country. “Fidelity Growth Partners India (FGPI) invests up to $15 million to acquire a significant minority stake in Mind Shaper Technologies,” the Delhi-based firm said in a statement. The investment would be used to expand the company's product portfolio. […]

Laundry Chain Gets More Equity Funding

Village Laundry Service, a portfolio company of Innosight Ventures, has received a fresh round of funding from Canadian private equity investor Kensington Capital Partners and Mumbai-based Index Advisory. Village Laundry Service, which is based in India, operates laundry kiosks to provide affordable laundry services to consumers based in India's metropolitan cities, the company said in a statement. In a country where laundry is either done at home or by local washer men called 'dhobis', the company hopes to create a market for laundromats, which offer consumers a chance to get their clothes washed for a small charge similar to a dry-cleaning service. The company so far has its presence in three cities including Mumbai and Bangalore. […]