The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) relaxed some rules to hasten the resolution of stressed assets in bank balance sheets. The regulator has exempted buyers of shares in distressed companies from the requirement of making an open offer even if the purchase triggers such an event under the takeover code. Sebi had come across cases where lenders acquired shares in a distressed company but could not sell the stake to a new investor because the takeover norms proved restrictive and reduced the funds available for investment in the stressed firm. This has triggered the need for additional relaxation, which is at present available only to financial creditors under the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) strategic debt restructuring (SDR) scheme. These exemptions, however, will need to be approved by a special resolution (at least 75% shareholders voting in favour). Secondly, the shares bought by the new investor will also be locked in for at least three years. Secondly, the regulator also relaxed laws which will make it easier for private equity-backed firms to raise funds through new share sales. A third set of announcements were related to proposals that will allow foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) easier access. However, the regulator continued to be tough on investments through participatory notes (P-notes). The regulator is also in the process of reviewing norms for the equity derivatives market and plans to release a discussion paper. Separately, in a circular, Sebi said it has allowed hedge funds to trade in the commodity derivatives market, subject to certain safeguards.
Reliance Defence’s, subsidiary of Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra),intent to form a joint venture (JV) with French aerospace and defence electronics major Thales to develop skills and activity in military hardware. The JV is to develop Indian capabilities to integrate and maintain the radar and electronic warfare sensors for fighter aircraft. While Reliance Defence will hold 51 per cent stake in the JV, Thales will have the remaining 49 per cent equity.
Mumbai-based mPOS startup Mswipe has raised $31 million funding in Series D round, led by UC-RNT Fund. UC-RNT Fund is the joint VC fund between Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons, Ratan Tata and the University of California. The company will use the funds to develop its network of merchants accepting digital payments in the country.
Essel Group ME has acquired Serena Middle East, the Dubai-based business of media and production company Serena. Spanish firm Serena, a post-production studio, works with companies such as Proctor & Gamble, Nestle, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Vodafone and Etisalat. The acquisition by Essel is a part of company’s growth strategy and through it Essel will enter in the region’s media and production industry.
Quikr has acquired blue collar jobs startup Babajob Services to strengthen its position in the blue collar jobs segment. With this acquisition, Quikr aims to cement its place as the largest classifieds platform in the blue collar job category. This category has entry-level sales professionals, BPO executives, delivery executives, drivers, and more looking for suitable employment.