Deals Buzz: Alibaba eyes acquisition of e-commerce unicorn ShopClues

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Alibaba eyes acquisition of e-commerce unicorn ShopClues
Chinese internet behemoth Alibaba, which aims to enter the domestic e-commerce market by early next year, has held discussions to acquire online marketplace ShopClues, which is valued at over $1 billion, reported The Times of India. Alibaba wants to merge the marketplace of Paytm, in which it has a stake, with the much bigger rival ShopClues, as it is prospecting several acquisition targets to firm up an India entry against rival Amazon.

Gurgaon-based ShopClues counts GIC of Singapore, Tiger Global, Nexus Venture Partners and Helion among its investors and has raised about $250 million till date. ShopClues is positioned as an online flea market, selling cheaper and mostly unbranded merchandise to value shoppers. The company, which is one among the top takeover targets in Indian e-commerce, is said to be reporting a revenue run-rate of $750 million based on the gross merchandise value of the goods sold.

ChrysCapital set to acquire Rs600 crore stake in Hero FinCorp

India’s oldest home-grown private equity manager ChrysCapital is set to invest $90 million (Rs.600 crore) in Hero FinCorp, the vehicle-financing unit of the country’s leading two-wheeler maker Hero MotoCorp, reported The Times of India. ChrysCapital has pipped rival bidders, including Wipro boss Azim Premji’s family office and Singapore’s Temasek, to win “a one-month exclusivity” to clinch the transaction.

ChrysCapital is expected to pick up 15-16% stake and board representations in Hero FinCorp. Multiples Asset Management and Creador Capital were among the other suitors which pursued the deal. The impending investment gives Hero FinCorp a pre-money valuation of around Rs.4,000 crore.

Last week, Mint reported that Singapore investment firm Temasek Holdings Pte. Ltd and India-focused PE fund ChrysCapital LLC were in the final stages of talks with Hero.

Pigeon Express acquires control of GoJavas

After failing to lock a deal with online platform Snapdeal, logistics firm GoJavas has managed to sell stake to courier service provider Pigeon Express, which will take over its operations, reported Business Standard. Pigeon’s Anand Rai will be managing director of the combined entity. Pigeon has bought a considerable stake in the company run till now by Quickdel Logistics. Its senior management will help resume the operations of GoJavas, which had last week shut down for technical reasons.

On 12 August, Mint reported that the courier service provider Pigeon Express was is in advanced talks to acquire GoJavas, which suspended operations amid an organisational overhaul.

HPCL-GAIL JV in talks with foreign firms to partner for AP project

Some foreign players have expressed interest in partnering with Hindustan Petroleum and GAIL to build a petrochemicals complex in Andhra Pradesh, reported The Economic Times. An equal joint venture of HPCL and GAIL is planning to build a petrochemicals complex at Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh, at an estimated cost of about Rs.30,000 crore.

The joint venture is now seeking to induct a third partner. “We are looking at inducting a strategic investor. We may offer up to 50% stake in the joint venture,” said Mukesh Kumar Surana, chairman at HPCL.

TPG eyeing stake in Mumbai’s maternity chain Surya

US-based private equity firm TPG Growth is in early stages of a discussion to acquire a minority stake in Mumbai-based maternity clinic chain Surya Mother & Child Care Super Speciality Hospital, reported Mint.TPG plans to acquire 25-30% stake for about Rs.80-100 crore.

Chennai-based mid-market investment bank Spark Capital Advisors India Pvt. Ltd is advising the promoters on the stake sale. Surya, started in 1985 by Dr B.S. Avasthi, a well known pediatrician working in the field of neonatology and child care, runs two hospitals—a 70-bed hospital in the western suburbs of Mumbai and a 110-bed hospital in Pune.

SAP may commit $10 million to Stellaris’ first VC fund

Stellaris Venture Partners, an early-stage venture capital firm launched by former Helion Venture Partners executives Ritesh Banglani, Alok Goyal and Rahul Chowdhri, is in advanced talks to secure a $10 million commitment from global enterprise software giant SAP SE, reported Mint. Stellaris Venture Partners is in the market to raise at least $100 million for its first venture capital (VC) fund.

As a strategy, Stellaris has been tapping large tech enterprises for their fund-raising, given that the partners have strong connections within the industry. Before joining Helion Venture Partners and becoming a VC investor, Goyal was associated with the IT services industry, having served as the chief operating officer of SAP in India for almost three years. Banglani, Chowdhri and Goyal severed ties with Helion in December. The three partners constituted the second line of command at the 10-year-old VC firm. .

Pi Ventures raising Rs195 crore to invest in start-ups

Pi Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm, is looking to raise Rs.195 crore for its first fund, which will look to finance start-ups in artificial intelligence, machine learning and Internet of Things (IoT), reported Mint. The fund, formed earlier this year by Manish Singhal and Umakant Soni, is currently on the road to tie up commitments.

The fund has raised commitments from institutional investors and entrepreneurs like Sanjeev Bikchandani, founder of InfoEdge India Ltd, the parent company of Naukri.com, and the founders of Sling Media Inc. The fund is likely to become operational in another couple of months. The fund will look to invest in around 20 start-ups, making very early-stage bets in companies and follow-on investments till the series A stage..