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Clearstone plans $10 mn investment in mobile firm

Clearstone Venture Advisors, a global venture capital fund with over $650 million of committed capital for investment globally, is set to invest in a company in the mobile value-added services (VAS) space in India. The size of the investment will be less than $10 million. The company expects to close the deal in the next four to five months. “Since the mobile touches millions of people in India, it is a great horizontal delivery vehicle — whether for transaction processing, electronics payments or mobile advertising. We do believe that everyone with a mobile phone is part of a digital network. This means they are ripe for some kind of network model or services model over the phone. So we are looking at the entire VAS space for breakthrough opportunities,” said Rahul Khanna, director, Clearstone Venture Advisors. Since starting operations in India in 2006, Clearstone has invested in four Indian companies with a committed capital of about $20 million. These are being funded from the company's third fund which is $210 million in size. […]

Aran World picks up 49% equity in KitchenWorld

Italian modular kitchen company Aran World has announced a 49 per cent equity investment in KitchenWorld India, a modular kitchens and interior designs brand. As part of the deal, KitchenWorld India will now be called Aran KitchenWorld. KitchenWorld India has been Aran's channel partner in India for several years and has nine stores across India. Aran KitchenWorld has plans to strengthen its presence in India with 50 more stores across the country by the year 2010. As a part of this plan, the company has launched its flagship store at Rajouri Garden, New Delhi. Being one of the large format stores, it spreads over an area of 5000 sqft, the flagship showroom includes world class amenities designed by Italian architect. […]

Alok Ind resumes talks to sell 20% in realty arm to PEs

Alok Industries, the Rs 2,200-crore Mumbai-based textile firm, has resumed talks with private equity players to dilute about 20% equity it owns in its unlisted unit, Alok Infrastructure. A realty company, Alok Infrastructure has been looking at options to raise around Rs 600 crore for developing its large land bank, said sources. Alok Industries plans to sell part of its stake in its realty unit to 3-4 private equity firms by August end. The company’s chief financial officer Sunil Khandelwal is currently in the UK for negotiations on this issue. “We are working out different options and strategies for our realty venture and something will happen before August. I am not in a position to divulge anything more now,” he told ET from London. Ernst & Young is advising Alok Industries on the equity dilution in Alok Infrastructure. […]

PEs seek higher returns as realty market tumbles

There’s nothing stopping the ongoing slump in the real estate market. Analysts say land values and the selling price of real estate projects across the country are expected to slide further. At the same time, investors are becoming more cautious in the face of the rising cost of money and growing market risks. The high-risk scenario has resulted in private equity (PE) players increasing their internal rate of return (IRR) expectations from projects. A big PE player says its expectation are up from 20-25% about a year ago to around 25-30%. The director of Investment Advisory, DTZ, a property advisory firm, Ambar Maheshwari , says that the expectations today are more towards structured deals. “There has been a correction in the market and the values are expected to go down further. So, most investors are safeguarding their interests by inking structured deals,” explains Maheshwari. A number of deals are being structured in a way that the investor is entitled to a preferred or a priority return and even capital protection in some cases. […]

Star likely to divest its 25.9% stake in Balaji Telefilms

Star India Pvt. Ltd, the News Corp. subsidiary that operates India’s leading general entertainment channel Star Plus, and Balaji Telefilms Ltd, the content provider responsible for some of the most successful soaps on Indian television, seem to be on the verge of a split after sharing an eight-year relationship. Star is mulling divesting, partially or fully, its 25.9% equity stake in the country’s largest television content production company, said a person close to the development who didn’t wish to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue. “Of late, the exclusivity agreement has been creating a strain between the two partners as Star wants to try out new ideas and producers and Balaji now has many more buyers with a slew of GECs (general entertainment channels) launching,” the person said. The exclusivity agreement refers to the condition put by Star that no Balaji show will run on any other channel during the time slots on which Star had a Balaji serial running. Star, according to insiders in both firms, pays Balaji a premium of more than 200% above market rates for this exclusivity. While Star executives have always maintained that Balaji’s soaps owe their success to Star Plus’ leadership position, Balaji executives have argued to the contrary. Yet, the relationship between the two partners had been going strong till recently. […]