The concept of promoter and promoter group of a listed company finds a mention in the SEBI regulations, and assumes significance as it impacts a wide range of M&A transactions involving listed companies. After closing in a change in control deal, one needs to follow the conditions prescribed in Regulation 31A of the SEBI (Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2015 (LODR Regulations), to re-classify the outgoing promoter. The conditions in Regulation 31A are onerous, cumbersome, and not in consonance with the way the transacting parties and market participants think. We will also explain below how Regulation 31A is not in consonance with the SEBI (Substantial Acquisition of Shares and Takeovers) Regulations, 2011 (Takeover Regulations), and does not reflect the realities of deal making and therefore, needs a change.Continue Reading Fresh Look Needed for Re-Classification of Promoters
It was a buzzing year for control deals in India. Year 2022 saw 93 control deals in the listed space, implemented through the tender offer route under the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Substantial Acquisition of Shares and Takeovers) Regulations, 2011 (Takeover Regulations). This marks the highest number of tender offers in the last five years.Continue Reading Takeover of Publicly Traded Companies: Flashback 2022
The year 2021 saw 81 tender offers aggregating to INR 43,602 crore for acquisition of shares of publicly traded companies in India under the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Substantial Acquisition of Shares and Takeovers) Regulations, 2011 (Takeover Regulations). This is higher in terms of both value and number when compared to the pandemic-hit 2020 and the pre-pandemic 2019. During this period, strategic players took centre-stage in driving deal activities, making 78 out of 81 tender offers.Continue Reading Takeover of Publicly Traded Companies: Flashback 2021
The Central Government recently notified Sections 230(11) and 230(12) of the Companies Act, 2013 (“Act”), which deal with takeover offers in unlisted companies. Section 230 of the Act provides for arrangements between a company and its creditors or members or any class of them, specifying the procedure to be followed to make such a compromise or arrangement. The newly-notified Section 230(11) states that in the case of unlisted companies any compromise or arrangement may include a takeover offer made in the prescribed manner, while Section 230(12) permits a party aggrieved by the takeover offer to make an application, bringing its grievance before the National Company Law Tribunal (“NCLT”). The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has also amended the Companies (Compromises, Arrangements and Amalgamations) Rules, 2016 (“CAA Rules”) and the NCLT Rules, 2016, corresponding to the above provisions. Sub-rules 5 and 6 have been added to Rule 3 of the CAA Rules, and Rule 80A has been inserted in the NCLT Rules, detailing the manner in which the applications may be made under Sections 230(11) and 230(12), respectively. However, these rules are not applicable to any transfer or transmission of shares through a contract, arrangement or succession, as the case may be, or any transfer made in pursuance of any statutory or regulatory requirement.
Continue Reading Takeover Rules for Unlisted Companies: Minority Squeeze Outs Under Section 230(11) of the Companies Act, 2013
A question that comes up regularly in the context of an underlying secondary transaction that triggers an open offer is whether such a transaction can be closed on the stock exchange? This is due to reservations expressed by the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in relation to the interpretation of certain provisions of the SEBI (Substantial Acquisition of Shares and Takeovers) Regulations, 2011 (Takeover Regulations).
This has led to unintended consequences, which cast a doubt on the legality of the on-market closure of underlying share purchase transactions. The shadow of this doubt unfortunately extends to on-market closures even if the on-market closure follows the completion of the open-offer process. In this blog post we would like to clarify that the on-market closure of underlying transactions is not contrary to Takeover Regulations and the provisions of Takeover Regulations are not subject to multiple interpretations on this aspect.
Continue Reading Regulation 22(2A) of SEBI Takeover Regulations : Is On-Market Closure of Underlying Transactions Prohibited?
January to December 2018 was a more active year compared to 2017 for tender offers made under the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Substantial Acquisition of Shares and Takeovers) Regulations, 2011 (Takeover Regulations).
Non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) saw a particularly high number of tender offers. These included tender offers for Tourism Finance Corporation of India Limited, Pranami Credits Limited and LKP Finance Limited. But while the NBFC space may have had the greatest number of tender offers, the highest tender offers in terms of size/value were in banking (IDBI Bank Limited), healthcare (Fortis Healthcare Limited), pharmaceuticals (Merck Limited), and cable & broadband (Hathway Cable and Datacom Limited and Den Networks Limited) sectors.
Continue Reading Tender Offers in 2018: The Year That Was
From January 1, 2017 to May 31, 2018, the open offers launched under the SEBI Takeover Regulations for listed non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) constitute approximately 23.7% out of the total open offers during this period. In the calendar year 2018 (to May 31, 2018), the percentage of open offers for NBFCs out of the total open offers launched in this period is 23%, demonstrating significant interest in one particular sector in the listed space as opposed to others. As per our study, the following diagram illustrates the open offer activity from January 1, 2018 to May 31, 2018:
Attractiveness of NBFCs
NBFCs are an important alternative source of financing. Given that banks are prohibited from funding M&A transactions, NBFCs fit in perfectly. In addition to this, that there have been few positive developments in the past couple of years that have increased the attractiveness of NBFCs. In August 2016, the Government extended the applicability of the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 to 196 systemically-important NBFCs to enable them to enforce security interest in relation to secured debt of Indian Rupees one crore or more.Continue Reading Takeover of Listed NBFCs: An Analysis of Current Trends
January to December 2017 saw 56 tender offers/open offers made under the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Substantial Acquisition of Shares and Takeovers) Regulations, 2011 (Takeover Regulations), 41 of which have been completed. This compares to 63 open offers made in the calendar year 2016.
For 2017, the total value of open offers made to the shareholders was Rs. 2,015 crores as against Rs. 9,676 crores for 2016. In 2017, no open offers were made by a private equity fund as compared to three made in 2016.
Companies in the non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) space saw a particularly high number of open offers (11 in all). Some of these were open offers for Upasana Finance Limited, Capital India Finance Limited, Dhanvarsha Finvest Limited, Golden Goenka Fincorp Limited, Lark Trading and Finance Limited, Chokhani Securities Limited and TRC Financial Services Limited. However, some of these have not closed, probably due to delays in receiving regulatory approval for change in control of the NBFCs.Continue Reading Tender Offers – 2017: The Year that Was
As per the market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India’s (SEBI) order dated March 31, 2017, in the Kamat Hotels (India) Limited (Kamat Hotels) case, Clearwater Capital (Clearwater) had subscribed to the foreign currency convertible bonds (FCCBs) of Kamat Hotels. Pursuant to a change in the applicable regulation relating to the conversion price for FCCBs, Kamat Hotels passed necessary resolutions approving the revision in price for conversion of FCCBs. Clearwater entered into an inter-se agreement (Agreement) with Kamat Hotels and its promoters on August 13, 2010. The Agreement expired on July 31, 2014. The Agreement had certain affirmative voting rights as are typical for the private equity (PE) investors to have for protection of their interests. Clearwater decided to convert the FCCBs into equity shares on January 11, 2012. The conversion resulted in increase in the shareholding of Clearwater from 24.50% to 32.23% requiring Clearwater to make an open offer under the SEBI (Substantial Acquisition of Shares and Takeovers) Regulations, 2011 (Takeover Regulations).
The open offer was made only under Regulation 3(1) which relates to acquisition of equity shares/voting rights and not under Regulation 4 (relating to acquisition of control). SEBI issued an observation letter on the draft letter of the offer filed for the open offer. SEBI’s letter stated that Clearwater acquired control under the Agreement in the year 2010 itself as certain affirmative voting rights/ protective covenants gave control to Clearwater and therefore, the open offer should have been made under Regulation 12 (relating to acquisition of control) of the 1997 Takeover Regulations. The protective covenants mandated approval of Clearwater before altering the share capital of Kamat Hotels, creating new subsidiaries, entering joint ventures, disposing or acquiring any material assets, lending or borrowing money beyond certain limits, winding up, etc.Continue Reading SEBI’s Observation on Protective Covenants – Positive, But Law Not Settled Yet