January to December 2017 saw 56[1] 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[2] 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.[3]

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