Financial services-to-real estate major Indiabulls may emerge as the dark horse to buy Standard Chartered Bank's asset management company, Standard Chartered Mutual Fund.
Besides Indiabulls, South Korean fund house Mirae and IDFC are in the final rounds of negotiations to buy Stanchart AMC. Stanchart manages over Rs 15,801 crore in assets (February data).
“Indiabulls has emerged the front runner. The bid could be $210-225 million (Rs 840-900 crore),” said an investment banker close to the negotiations. The deal could be announced by the end of this month. Indiabulls has entered the race to take over Stanchart mutual fund after it recently got the market regulator's approval to set up an asset management company. However, when contacted Indiabulls Financial Services CEO Gagan Banga declined to comment.
The deal size is $100 million more than last year’s transaction, which was called off in December. Valuations have shot up as Standard Chartered Mutual Fund’s asset base has seen an 11 per cent increase over the last three months. Last year, Swiss bank UBS had acquired the company for $120 million, but the deal was called off due to lack of regulatory clearances, including the Reserve Bank of India’s approval.
A Stanchart spokesperson said, “The strategic case for the disposal of the India Funds Management Business remains unchanged and the process of sale is under way. We cannot comment on any speculation on who could be the buyer.”