Kishore Biyani’s Future Group eyes lifeline from Blackstone

Kishore Biyani (Livemint)

Kishore Biyani’s Future Group has approached private equity (PE) firms, including its existing investor Blackstone, as it tries to reduce debt and keep control of group companies, two people aware of the development said.

Last year, Blackstone invested around 1,750 crore in Future Group. As part of the deal, the US PE firm acquired close to 6% stake in Future Lifestyle Fashion Ltd (FLFL), the group’s apparel business, and lent the rest to the parent company.

“They are in talks with multiple investors including Blackstone, which is an existing investor. Blackstone might infuse further capital in the group to help FLFL, which is facing challenges on the working capital front as its business has been hit hard by the nationwide lockdown,” said the first of the two people cited above, both of whom spoke under condition of anonymity.

“The information shared by you is purely speculative in nature and we officially deny any such development,” a Future Group spokesperson said. A spokesperson for Blackstone declined to comment.

The talks with PE investors are among various efforts at the group to monetize assets and deleverage the balance sheet.

On Thursday, CNBC TV18 reported that Future Group has put up its logistics business —Future Supply Chain Solutions Ltd—for sale, while Bloomberg reported that Amazon is looking to buy an up to 49% stake in Future Retail, the business that runs BigBazaar chain. The group is also seeking buyers for its stake in an insurance joint venture. Biyani’s debt-related woes surfaced in March when shares of his listed firms crashed, triggering a rating downgrade of the promoter holding company and invocation of pledged shares by lenders. The group has moved to find buyers for promoter shares in two group entities.

On 4 May, rating agency Icra said it downgraded Future Corporate Resources, a promoter group entity, to D, after it defaulted on coupon payments. “The company has informed that it has sought a moratorium in payments for the same from the investors; however, the same has not been approved yet,” Icra said.

“Despite monetisation of investments across various group entities, the total group debt has increased as on 31 December 2019, as against 31 March 2019…total debt at group’s listed firms rose to 12,778 crore as on 30 September 2019 from 10,951 crore as on 31 March 2019,” Icra added.

The article was first published on livemint.com

 

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.