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Maran eyes stake in SpiceJet.

MEDIA baron Kalanithi Maran, who owns Sun TV networks, is all set to picking up 37 per cent stake in lowcost carrier SpiceJet.

Maran is expected to sign an agreement to purchase nearly 37 per cent stake in the carrier from its promoters Bhupendra Kansagra and Wilbur L. Ross, an US investor who is known for restructuring failed firms.

The deal, an airline official said, will be executed through off- market transactions where the deal is struck directly between two parties with or without a broker and where no clearing agencies are involved.

According to an airline official, the stake sale will be through holding company KAL Airways and in Maran's individual capacity. Maran is also expected to make an offer to SpiceJet's minority shareholders to acquire an additional 20 per cent stake in SpiceJet.

The chief operating officer ( COO) refused to comment on the development but another official executing the deal confirmed Maran picking up stakes in the firm. According to the official, of 37 per cent, which Maran is expected to buy, 25 per cent will come from the share- holding of Ross, who holds foreign currency convertible bonds ( FCCBs) in the firm.

Earlier in the day, SpiceJet said it has issued shares to W. L. Ross & Company and Istithmar on conversion of FCCBs.

Ross would convert his FCCBs into equity worth 27.11 per cent stake in SpiceJet and sell it along with Kenya- based Kansagra family's 13 per cent stake in the carrier to Maran.

SpiceJet chief executive officer ( CEO) Sanjay Aggarwal said the firm has allotted 41.8 million shares to funds held by W. L. Ross & Co and 22 million shares to Istithmar.

Ross has only partly converted his FCCBs and post conversion, his stake in SpiceJet is 13.1 per cent while Dubai World's investment arm Istithmar holds 6.8 per cent, a SpiceJet spokeswoman said. In February, Istithmar had sold its entire equity stake in SpiceJet for $ 35.23 million but remained invested through FCCB. As per the latest shareholding pattern of the airline, Kansagra owns 11.95 per cent in the company through Royal Holding Services Ltd.

Earlier this week, foreign fund house Goldman Sachs Investment Partners Mauritius had picked up six per cent stake in SpiceJet by converting the 1.5 crore warrants it had purchased from the airline in December 2008 into equity. SpiceJet is currently valued at Rs 2,000 crore.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Jun 12, 2010
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