Mukesh and Anil, India’s billionaire Ambani brothers, have been at each other’s throats for years. They spilt the family business in 2005 and have feuded ever since.
Now, quite suddenly, Mukesh has agreed to use his younger brother’s fibre optic network for the launch of a new broadband telecoms venture. The initial contract is worth 1,200 crore rupees, which translates into about $220m. Read more
Mukesh Ambani, India’s wealthiest man, is set to sign a deal with Walt Disney’s Indian subsidiary that will provide his Reliance Industries with the content for its next generation of mobile telecoms, the FT says, citing people close to the matter. The deal, expected to be sealed in the coming weeks, is between Reliance and UTV, one of Bollywood’s largest entertainment groups, which Disney controls with a 50.44 per cent stake and is in the process of buying fully. It is the first concrete move by the billionaire’s group since it acquired Infotel, the only company to have won a national allocation of fourth-generation spectrum in an auction. It will be the latest in a series of joint ventures signed by India’s largest private sector group.
India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corp is in talks with foreign oil majors BG, Eni and Shell to sell stakes in deepwater developments off the country’s resource-rich eastern coast, as it seeks to replicate the lucrative $7.2bn deal struck between BP and Reliance Industries. The FT reports AK Hazarika, the chairman of India’s biggest oil and gas group, told the Financial Times that the state-owned group was looking for a partner with the technological expertise to exploit its vast but untapped deepwater oil and gas reserves. ONGC, which has a market capitalisation of $55bn, has already been collaborating with the British, Italian and Anglo-Dutch explorers but it is looking to deepen ties with foreign groups to boost the development of its 85 deepwater blocks in the Indian Ocean, according to Mr Hazarika.
BP is making a $7.2bn thrust into India by taking a 30% stake in the vast but difficult-to-access natural gas blocks controlled by tycoon Mukesh Ambani, reports the FT. The deal with Reliance Industries, potentially worth up to $20bn and subject to government approval, follows BP’s $16bn share swap with Rosneft, the Russian state oil company, and marks the latest stage of the oil major’s recovery since last year’s Gulf of Mexico disaster. Bloomberg notes the deals signal BP’s shift towards the world’s fastest growing economies, with US exploration drilling still closed after the spill. But, warns the NYT, Indian approval for the Reliance deal “could take some time”.
BP is to make a $7.2bn thrust into India by taking 30 per cent stakes in vast but difficult natural gas blocks controlled by Mukesh Ambani, the country’s richest tycoon, reports the FT. The deal with Reliance Industries, potentially worth up to $20bn and subject to government approval, comes on the heels of a $16bn share swap with Rosneft, the Russian state oil company, and marks the latest stage of BP’s recovery since last year’s Gulf of Mexico disaster.
BP is in talks with Indian energy major Reliance Industries to buy a 30% to 50% stake in the D6 hydrocarbon block in a basin off India’s east coast, reports Reuters, citing India’s Mint newspaper. Mint reports that RI, India’s biggest company by market cap and owned by Mukesh Ambani, holds a 90% stake in the KG D6 field off India’s eastern coast. The field was hailed as the world’s largest natural gas discovery in 2002. Canadian hydrocarbon explorer Niko Resources owns the remaining 10% stake. Reliance is pumping 52-53m cubic metres of gas a day from the block, less than the 60m cubic metres it produced last year but India’s upstream regulator has said output could rise by April.
Reliance Industries, India’s largest private sector company, plans to raise up to $1.5bn in what would be the biggest ever dollar-denominated bond sale by an Indian company, according to Dealogic. The offering, which has been increased from the $1bn the market originally expected, would provide investors with rare exposure to a top-flight Indian conglomerate; south Asian companies usually tend to rely on bank loans for funds. The FT reports that the petrochemical group owned by Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man, will use the funds to refinance the $765m unsecured loan it used to acquire shale gas assets in the US and to make new acquisitions overseas, according to Moody’s, which rated the group Baa2, the second lowest investment grade.
Reliance Industries, India’s biggest company by market value, agreed to buy a 60% stake in the Marcellus shale-gas areas of central and northeast Pennsylvania from Carrizo Oil & Gas and its partner, reports Bloomberg. Reliance said it would pay a total of $392m, $340m of it in cash and the remainder in Carrizo’s drilling costs. It is buying 20% of Carrizo’s interests in a joint venture with ACP II Marcellus, an affiliate of Avista Capital Partners. It will also buy all of Avista’s interest.
At a mere $550m-$600m, the latest cross-border deal by an Indian company is small compared to the $14.5bn that Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries was prepared to pay for Dutch chemicals maker LyondellBasell and the $10.5bn that Bharti Airtel is stumping up for the African telecoms operations of Kuwaiti company Zain.
But the agreement by Essar Group, one of India’s biggest conglomerates, to buy Trinity Coal of the US for $550m-$600m sets the seal on a revived – and increasingly powerful – push by India’s industrial leaders to ramp up global acquisitions. Read more
Reliance Industries, the Mumbai-based oil refiner and energy explorer controlled by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, has raised its offer for bankrupt US chemicals maker LyondellBasell Industries to about $14.5bn, reports Bloomberg. The revised bid would enable Lyondell creditors to opt for either cash or equity, say people close to the offer. Reliance offered an undisclosed amount in late November for a controlling stake in Lyondell.
Reliance Industries, India’s biggest listed company, plans to offer $10bn for a controlling stake in LyondellBasell, the bankrupt Dutch-based petrochemical giant, in what would be one of the largest overseas acquisitions by an Indian group. The scale of the bid – and its all-cash nature – would seem to highlight the growing confidence of Indian companies on the global stage, and the speed at which they are recovering after the global financial crisis.
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Billionaire investor Raj Rajaratnam, founder of the Galleon Group, and present and former executives of Bear Stearns, IBM, Intel and McKinsey were charged on Friday in an alleged insider trading scheme. Read more
Escalating sibling rivalry between India’s billionaire Ambani brothers over the proposed takeover of mobile operator Reliance Communications by South Africa’s MTN could end up in the courts. Mukesh Ambani, through his group Reliance Industries, last week threatened to block the planned deal by claiming a right of first refusal over Reliance Communications, the flagship of his younger sibling Anil Ambani. He has also threatened to sue MTN and Reliance, India’s second largest cellular carrier, for damages if the deal goes ahead. Anil Ambani’s group on Sunday responded with legal threats of its own. Both MTN and Reliance Communications say their talks are continuing as planned. Read the letter from Reliance Industries to MTN here.