India Digest: Personiv, Zee and Tara Jewels in M&A mode, Baring PE exits Muthoot Finance

US-based BPO firm Personiv has acquired India’s John Keells BPO while Zee Entertainment has agreed to buy 9X Media and its unit INX Music. In other news, Tara Jewels is in talks to buy Australia-based jewellery chain Bevilles Jeweller and Baring PE has exited its investment in Muthoot Finance.

Personiv buys Gurgaon-based John Keells BPO

Business process outsourcing (BPO) firm Personiv has acquired Gurgaon-based John Keells BPO for an undisclosed amount, according to a statement.

John Keells provides customer engagement services like multi-channel service management, tech support, back office and inbound and outbound voice services. The company employs 2,000 people across four global locations.

This acquisition comes at a time when Personiv is expanding its operations. “Across our outsourcing solutions, from recruiting and creative to back office and customer engagement, our focus on quality, flexible execution and white-glove customer experience remains at the heart of what we do. The addition of the JKBPO team will further our vision of providing people powered outsourcing across the globe,” said David Lesniak, CEO, Personiv.

Subhash Chandra’s Zee Entertainment to buy 9X Media

Subhash Chanda-led Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd has received its board approval to buy 9X Media Pvt. Ltd and its unit INX Music Pvt Ltd for a total of Rs 160 crore ($24.4 million) to expand its television portfolio.

The company has also announced it will buy 26 per cent stake in Zee Turner Ltd from joint venture partner Turner International India Pvt Ltd for Rs 2.6 lakh.

9X Media owns six music channels including 9XM, 9X Jalwa (Hindi), 9X Jhakkas (Marathi), 9XO (English), 9X Tashan (Punjabi) and 9X Bajao (Hindi classic). Rivendell PE LLC (formerly New Silk Route), which owns close to 80 per cent stake in 9X Media, has been looking to exit the firm since 2013.

Zee said the acquisition is in line with its strategy to cater to a diverse audience by offering targeted products. The deal also increases its regional footprint with a foray into the Punjabi market.

“9X channels enjoy leading market shares in their respective segments and will benefit immensely from our network’s strength to achieve higher growth potential and cost synergies. I am confident that these channels will make our entertainment bouquet even more compelling for the audience,” said Punit Goenka, MD & CEO, ZEEL.

Tara Jewels to buy 49% stake in Australian jeweller

Tara Jewels Ltd is in talks to buy a 49 per cent stake in Australian retailer Bevilles Jeweller, a company which has an annual turnover of $26.5 million.

The acquisition will give Tara Jewels an access to the highly profitable New Zealand and Australian markets, it said in a stock market disclosure.

Founded by Rajeev Sheth in 1994, Tara Jewels manufactures, designs and exports jewellery. Listed in December 2012, the company currently has three manufacturing facilities.

Baring PE exits Muthoot Finance

Baring Private Equity Partners India has exited its seven-year-old investment in gold loan provider Muthoot Finance Ltd by selling its remaining stake in the company in the last quarter.

This is the third complete exit by Baring PE within a month after it exited Marico Ltd and Godrej Consumer Products Ltd.

The PE firm had originally invested Rs 170 crore in Muthoot in 2010 for a 3 per cent stake and has been selling stake in the company for more than a year.

In the recent divestment, Baring PE pocketed Rs 426 crore and earned 2.4 times the money invested and recorded an internal rate of return (IRR) of 17.4 per cent on its investment in rupee terms, it said in a statement.

In October last year too, Baring PE had sold part of its holding in the Kochi-headquartered financial institution.

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