August 2011
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Omnivore picks up 33% stake in Skymet

Omnivore Capital, an early stage venture capital fund backed by Godrej Agrovet Ltd, has made its first investment by buying a 33% stake in weather forecaster Skymet for an undisclosed amount. “We believe that improved meteorology is one of the best tools to reduce risk in agriculture,” said Mark Kahn, executive vice-president for strategy and business development at Godrej Agrovet and venture partner, Omnivore. “In India, the difference in productivity between the best and the worst farms is very high. Superior forecasts can reduce the level of crop failure and help close that productivity gap.” Omnivore, in which Godrej Agrovet—the diversified agribusiness arm of the Godrej group—is the anchor investor, focuses only on investments in the agriculture technology area. […]

Srei to raise $500 mn overseas VC fund

Infrastructure finance company Srei will soon be raising a USD 500 million venture capital fund from global investors, to be deployed in domestic projects, a top company official has said. “We will be embarking on roadshows to raise up to USD 500 million from across the world in the next two months,” Srei chairman and managing director Hemant Kanoria said. Srei expects to finish the fund-raising by mid-2012 and will be targeting high networth individuals, pension funds, endowment funds and fund of funds to raise the money, Kanoria said. In spite of the negative buzz in the country following a scams and lack of positive policy measures as well as good governance, Kanoria sounded confident of achieving the targeted amount citing the benefits of the infra sector and the company's deep-rooted presence in it since 1989. […]

Sebi's proposed changes in takeover rules to alter India's M&A scene

India's new takeover rules spell different things to a varied class of stakeholders. For promoters with low holdings, it could mean buying more shares to bolster their holdings to shield themselves from a potential hostile bid. Institutional investors, mainly private equity funds, will now be able to acquire up to a 24.99% stake in a company, without triggering an open offer. Retail investors, too, should gain with the removal of non-compete fees and greater participation in open offers. Late last month, the Securities and Exchange Board of India, or Sebi, proposed to amend the 13-year-old takeover rules and said that an acquirer can buy up to 25% in a listed firm without triggering a public offer. The offer size, too, was changed to 26%, providing an exit for more investors. That is a marked change from the scenario now when an acquirer has to make an open offer to buy out an additional stake of 20% from public shareholders once the holding tops 15%. […]

PE funds hold majority stake in Treehouse

Private equity funds Matrix Partners and FC advisors (Mauritius) Ltd hold more than promoters Geeta and Rajesh Bhatia in the IPO-bound Tree house Education and Accessories Ltd. The two funds, along with another Mauritius-based entity, hold a majority stake with over 50 per cent in the pre-issue share capital of the company. Typically, PE funds have shied away from making control transactions due to Indian regulations which require a designated promoter at the time of an Initial Public Offer. Many PE funds do not want to take the mantle of a promoter and compliance and other responsibilities that come with it. This has kept the control transactions low in the Indian PE space. Even if PEs take control, not many have come to the IPO market, making the Tree House IPO a rare event. […]

Mohandas Pai launches PE fund

T.V. Mohandas Pai, former human resources director at Infosys Ltd, and Manipal Education and Medical Group chief executive Ranjan Pai have founded a $100 million private equity fund that’ll make its first investment in 4-6 months. The fund will focus on mid-stage healthcare, health services and technology firms, Ranjan Pai said. “The idea is to invest in unlisted mid-stage companies, though eventually we will look at listed entities also,” he said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. Mohandas Pai, chairman of Manipal Universal Learning, told Businessworld magazine in a 6 August interview published online that he and Ranjan Pai want to provide more than just money to start-ups. Ranjan Pai said several fast-growing firms that needed both mentoring and funding had approached Mohandas Pai to join their boards after he quit Infosys in June. “So, we thought why not join them and become a part of their success story,” he said. […]

MakeMyTrip, SAIF Partners to buy 76.6% in Ixigo

Travel firm MakeMyTrip today said it would, along with its largest share holder SAIF Partners, pick up 76.6% stake for $18.5 million in Le Travenues Technology, which operates online travel search engine www.Ixigo.Com. MakeMyTrip will pick up 19.9% stake in Le Travenues for $4.8 million, private equity firm SAIF Partners will invest $13.7 million for 56.7% in the company, MakeMyTrip said in a statement. “We expect to complete this share acquisition in August 2011. We believe this investment has synergies with and benefits our online travel business,” the company said. The share purchase agreement with Gurgaon-based Le Travenues Technology was entered into on July 4, 2011. […]

Piramal to buy 5.5% stake in Vodafone-Essar for $640 mn

British telecom major Vodafone today said Piramal Healthcare would buy 5.5 per cent stake in Indian joint venture Vodafone-Essar for about 640 million (nearly Rs 2,900 crore). Piramal Healthcare would purchase 5.5 per cent of the “issued equity share capital of Vodafone Essar Ltd (VEL) from ETHL Communications Holding Ltd (Essar) for a cash consideration of approximately USD 640 million,” Vodafone said in a statement. A Piramal Healthcare spokesperson when contacted declined to comment. The latest Vodafone announcement comes more than a month after it reached settlement with Essar over the latter's 33 per cent in the joint venture. […]

Fortis takes 65% in Vietnam firm

After failure of Singh brothers in taking over Singapore-based Parkway, Fortis Healthcare International, a family outfit of Malvinder Mohan Singh and Shivinder Mohan Singh, announced sixth investment in eight months in its quest to become a leading integrated healthcare provider in Asia Pacific region. On Wednesday, the company announced 65 per cent stake purchase in Vietnam's Hoan My Medical Corporation for $64 million (Rs 288 crore). The Hoan My Hospitals acquisition provides Fortis with access to Indo-China region where healthcare services sector offers significant growth opportunities. In last eight months, Fortis Healthcare International has acquired the largest private primary care company in Hong Kong (Quality Healthcare Asia), the largest dental care company in Australia (Dental), a specialty hospital project in Singapore (under-construction) and a strategic stake in an existing hospital in Sri Lanka (Lanka Hospitals). […]