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Educomp to buy 76 pc stake in A-Plus Education

Leading e-learning solutions provider Educomp Solutions on Thursday said it would acquire 76 per cent stake in A-Plus Education Solutions for Rs 10.75 crore in the next two years. A-Plus Education is operating under the brand name 'Purple Leap' and focuses on the area of improving employability of college graduates, Educomp said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange. “The company will focus on preparing students currently studying in over 15,000 colleges in the country and will make them workplace ready,” the filing said and added that Educomp would leverage its very large customer base across five million students in India, going up to 10 million by financial year 2009-10. […]

Milestone to launch Rs 600 cr PE fund

Milestone Capital Advisors, the real estate venture capital fund promoted by Ved Prakash Arya, is planning to launch a private equity fund with a corpus close to Rs 600 crore. The announcement will be made in a few weeks. The PE fund, the first from Milestone's stable, will focus on sectors such as education and infrastructure. “Right now, I am bullish on these two sectors as there is lot of scope for companies to expand and reach a mass base,” said Ved Prakash Arya, managing director, Milestone Capital Advisors. Its fourth real estate fund — Milestone Domestic Fund Part-II — has raised Rs 430 crore and will close shortly. The fund house is proposing to raise Rs 500 crore from this fund. Despite the rough market weather, the fund house's track record and investment strategy have helped in getting investor commitments, Arya said. Realty funds have been finding it difficult to raise funds from high networth individuals (HNIs) and institutions owing to a credit crisis in the US, the impact of which has been felt in India as well. […]

Edelweiss arm plans $200-m distressed asset fund

With the economy slowing down Indian players are looking at setting up distressed funds. Edelweiss Alternate Asset Advisors (EAAA), an arm of Edelweiss Capital is looking at launching a $200-million distressed asset fund. Other players, who already have an ARC licence, are also looking at setting up these funds. Till now, only foreign funds have been active players in this market. Siby Antony, executive VP and head-distress investments, EAAA told ET: “We propose to put in a vehicle over the next 6-9 months. We should have everything in place by December. We are not looking at retail NPAs, but SMEs and large corporates. We hope to create value in potentially viable units,” he adds. EAAA is initially looking at $200 million fund which could go up to $400 million depending on investor demand. Edelweiss is in the process of applying to the Reserve Bank of India for an asset reconstruction company (ARC) licence. Mr Antony said initially they would go with a single asset and once ARC is approved, they would go for portfolios. Others, who are in the market to raise funds, include Vision Global which has launched a $200-million fund. […]

Diageo in talks to buy 30% stake in Cobra for $100 mn

Global drinks giant Diageo has emerged as a surprising contender for acquiring a stake in Karan Billimoria-led Cobra Beer. Sources said Diageo is in fairly advanced discussions with the UK-headquartered brewer to buy about 30% stake for about $100 million. The India-born international beer company is seeking a valuation of about $400 million. NM Rothschild is advising Cobra on its fund-raising plans, which have also attracted private equity biggies like Goldman Sachs. However, Diageo is seen as a serious suitor at the moment, sources added. Cobra Beer may decide on a suitor in the next few weeks. Diageo is the world’s largest drinks company and a predominant player in the spirits segment. But it has substantial interest in the brewing sector with iconic stout beer Guinness and specialty Irish beer Kilkenny. If the deal goes through, this will be one of the rare instances of Diageo taking a minority exposure in an alcoholic beverage company. Earlier this year, the drinks behemoth took 50% stake in the Netherlands-based super-premium vodka maker Ketel One for $900 million. […]

Rolta to buy US firm

Rolta India Ltd, an information technology firm which specialises in geospatial information systems and high-end engineering, has finalised a deal to acquire a US-based company that specialises in business intelligence. The move is seen as the company's effort to bolster its enterprise information & communication technology business. “The business intelligence acquisition will enable us to offer various types of analytics over our existing ERP (enterprise resource planning) offering as well as over the GIS solutions. This would create a synergic mix of technology with intellectual property rights (IPR),” Kamal K Singh, chairman, Rolta India Ltd told DNA Money. […]

Dawnay Day to sell 50% India stake

Dawnay Day International, the financial services unit of the UK-based Dawnay Day Group, has decided to sell its 50% stake in Dawnay Day AV, the joint venture financial services firm in India, after the turmoil in its global operations. The firm was set up in 2005 by Alok Vajpeyi, a high profile investment banker with DSP Merrill Lynch Ltd. The Indian venture offers stock broking, and sells mutual funds and insurance products of other firms. The firm is also exploring the possibility of setting up an asset management firm with a partner. “We have decided to build business with a new partner,” said Vajpeyi, who owns 25% stake in the venture. “I am not going to sell my stake. I will stay with my team.” The remainder 25% is owned by a trust of 1,700 employees working with the firm across 40 branches. A senior executive of Dawnay Day AV, who didn’t want to named, said the firm is in talks with Hyderabad-based Karvy Stock Broking Ltd and a few other large private equity investors. “The business valuations are still under negotiation,” the same executive said. At least two investment bankers, who did not wish to be named, said Vajpeyi, who is the vice-chairman and managing director of Dawnay Day AV, had talks with Karvy last year with a proposal to become a partner and expand the business. Vajpeyi declined to comment on this beyond saying: “We are talking to a few partners.” […]

Intel Capital to invest USD 17 Mn in 3 Indian Firms

Intel Capital, the venture capital unit of Nasdaq-listed Intel Corporation, on Thursday said it will invest US$17 million in three Indian companies and said it is bullish on the country's investment prospects. The three companies identified for investment are online travel portal, event-oriented social network and advertising company Emnet Samsara Media. “We are rapidly investing in opportunities that we find suitable and are excited about investment prospects in the country,” Intel Capital President Arvind Sodhani said. The funding for the said investment would come from the US$250 million Intel Capital India Technology Fund. The fund has already invested US$125 million so far in the country, Sodhani said, adding that apart from investing in technology companies, the fund would also focus on alternate sources of energy. […]

iYogi bags $9.5 mn from SAP-led VCs in second round funding

iYogi, the Gurgaon-based B2C technology support provider, has secured a second-round funding of $9.5 million from a consortium of VCs led by SAP Ventures, a division of the German software major SAP. This is SAP Ventures first investment in India and the fund is close to investing in couple of other IT and ITeS companies in India. Other investors in iYogi include Canaan Partners and Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) India Capital Partners. iYogi, a remote technical support provider with a customer base of over 50,000, primarily in the US, will use the funding to expand operations in new geographies, to increase execution capability, delivery of new services and to enhance its marketing effort. The company has 450 technical support staff and plans to ramp it up to 2,000 in the next couple of years. It has a unique offshoring model that focuses on providing technical support to individual retail customers (personal offshoring) rather than enterprise customers, as most BPOs do. […]