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Blackstone picks up 37.5% stake in Aakash Educational

The PE firm is expected to pick up a 36.5% stake in Aakash for ₹1,350 crore at a valuation of over $500 million



MUMBAI (Maharashtra): Private equity firm Blackstone has picked up 37.5 per cent stake in competitive examination preparation firm Aakash Educational Services Ltd for Rs 1,350 crore valuing the institution at USD 500 million (over Rs 3,545 crore), according to sources.

Blackstone, which last week received approval from the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for picking up 51 per cent stake in Aakash Educational Services Ltd (AESL), is keeping options open to hike stake in the institute.

The two companies said their partnership will help in building AESL as India’s largest digitally enabled, omni-channel education firm.

Aakash is one of India’s largest test preparation companies, and helps students of classes 8-12 for medical, engineering and other competitive examinations. The digitally enabled company has more than 200 centres across 130 cities, employing over 2,200 teachers to help train more than 250,000 students.

Before the stake sale to Blackstone, Aakash was eyeing an initial public offering and had filed its so-called draft red herring prospectus with the market regulator in July 2018. However, it did not move ahead with the plans.

For the financial year 2018, Aakash reported revenue of ₹981.1 crore, as against a revenue of ₹729.6 crore in the previous financial year, data from its IPO filings shows. The company’s profit stood at ₹160.1 crore in fiscal 2018, growing significantly from ₹63.5 crore in the previous fiscal.

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With $49 Billion Inflow, India Among Top 10 FDI Recipients In 2019: UN report

The FDI flows to developed countries remained at a historically low level, decreasing by a further 6 per cent to an estimated $643 billion.



NEW DELHI: India was among the top 10 recipients of Foreign Direct Investment in 2019, attracting USD 49 billion in inflows, a 16 per cent increase from the previous year, driving the FDI growth in South Asia, according to a UN report released on Monday.

The Global Investment Trend Monitor report compiled by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) states that the global foreign direct investment remained flat in 2019 at USD 1.39 trillion, a 1 per cent decline from a revised USD 1.41 trillion in 2018.

This is against the backdrop of weaker macroeconomic performance and policy uncertainty for investors, including trade tensions, it said.

Developing economies continue to absorb more than half of global FDI flows.

South Asia recorded a 10 per cent increase in FDI to $60 billion and “this growth was driven by India, with a 16 per cent increase in inflows to an estimated $49 billion.

“The majority went into services industries, including information technology,” the report said.

The FDI flows to developed countries remained at a historically low level, decreasing by a further 6 per cent to an estimated $643 billion.

The FDI to the European Union (EU) fell by 15 per cent to $305 billion, while there was zero-growth of flows to the United States, which received $251 billion FDI in 2019, as compared to $254 billion in 2018, the report said.

Despite this, the United States remained the largest recipient of FDI, followed by China with flows of $140 billion and Singapore with $110 billion.

China also saw zero-growth in FDI inflows. Its FDI inflows in 2018 were $139 billion and stood at $140 billion in 2019.

The FDI in the UK was down 6 per cent as Brexit unfolded.

Looking ahead, UNCTAD expects the FDI flows to rise moderately in 2020, as current projections show the global economy to improve somewhat from its weakest performance since the global financial crisis in 2009.

Corporate profits are expected to remain high and signs of waning trade tensions emerge.

However, the decrease of announced greenfield projects by 22 per cent – an indicator of future trends, high geopolitical risks and concerns about a further shift towards protectionist policies temper expectations.

The report said that GDP growth, gross fixed capital formation and trade are projected to rise, both at the global level and, especially, in several large emerging markets.

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Zomato Acquires Uber Eats India In An All-Stock Deal

While the two companies did not share the deal size, market experts believe it to be about $300-350 million.



GURUGRAM (Haryana): Zomato on Tuesday announced the acquisition of Uber’s food delivery business, Uber Eats, in India in an all-stock deal.

The deal, which gives Uber 9.99% ownership in Zomato, underlines the U.S.-listed cab aggregator’s effort to cut back on loss-making business segments globally.

Following the acquisition, Uber Eats in India will discontinue operations and direct restaurants, delivery partners, and users of the Uber Eats apps to the Zomato platform, effective Tuesday.

Deepinder Goyal, Founder and CEO, Zomato, commented:

We are proud to have pioneered restaurant discovery and to have created a leading food delivery business across more than 500 cities in India.

This acquisition significantly strengthens our position in the category. ”

Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber, said:

Our Uber Eats team in India has achieved an incredible amount over the last two years, and I couldn’t be prouder of their ingenuity and dedication.

India remains an exceptionally important market to Uber and we will continue to invest in growing our local Rides business, which is already the clear category leader.

We have been very impressed by Zomato’s ability to grow rapidly in a capital-efficient manner and we wish them continued success. ”

Zomato is a restaurant review, restaurant discovery, food delivery and dining out transactions platform providing in-depth information for over 1.5 million restaurants across 24 countries and serves more than 70 million users every month.

Uber Eats which was launched in 2017 in India, had about 26,000 restaurant partners and garnered about 12% of the market, sources said. It was competing with Zomato as well as Swiggy in the segment.

The deal comes close on the heels of Zomato raising $150 million in funding from existing investor Ant Financial, an Alibaba affiliate, at a $3 billion valuation.

The deal also means that Zomato will now have stronger teeth in the market against its rivals like Swiggy.

Sources said that with the sale of the food business, Uber would now focus on its rides business and expansion to tier 2 cities.

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‘5 Trillion Economy’ A Practical Idea, Not Abstract Thinking: FM Sitharaman

Rs 102 lakh crore National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) to help make India a $5 trillion economy by 2025.



CHENNAI (Tamil Nadu): Delivering the Nani Palkhivala Centenary lecture in Chennai, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the Centre would spend over a hundred lakh crore rupees in the next five years in the country’s infrastructure, before reasserting that the target of India becoming a five trillion-dollar economy is not just abstract thinking but a practical one.

She said that the Government would do a facilitator-role for all stakeholders in achieving the target. She said proper governance would be firmly in place without exerting undue pressure on any sections. She stressed that the Modi Government is believing not in incremental growth but in transformative growth.

Here is the break-up of the proposed infrastructure:

Sitharaman said the phenomenal rise in digital transactions in the country has inspired the whole world. She said, whenever Prime Minister Modi interacts with global leaders, they ask about India’s success in operationalizing the Unified Payments Interface.

She noted that a major churning is taking place in the industrial sector, aided by the great push that is being given to adopting advanced technologies.

Referring to the disinvestment in public sector undertakings, she said it is aimed at making sure that they are run as efficient enterprises.

She said that the Indian economy is rules-based and not opaque. She said she wanted to make several provisions of criminalizing corporate actions in the Companies Act removed so that the sense of fear in taking decisions could be avoided.

She asserted that the NPAs in banks are coming down drastically, adding the NPA figure came down from ten lakh crore rupees to eight lakh crore rupees – and reducing further.

She rejected the charges that the Central Government is not giving due respect to the country’s important institutions, adding, there is mutual respect between the Reserve Bank of India and the Union Government.

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