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Khazanah offloads Yes Bank shares, News Corp exits Hathway

UAE-based telecom major Etisalat has also started proceedings for winding up operations of its Indian venture.

twitter-logo PTI   New Delhi     Last Updated: March 13, 2012  | 15:34 IST

At least two foreign investors, global media conglomerate News Corp and a Malaysian government arm, on Monday exited from their two separate Indian investments in deals totalling about Rs 1,000 crore.

At the same time, UAE-based telecom major Etisalat , which recently made public its intention to exit India, also said on Monday that it has started proceedings for winding up operations of its Indian venture.

Making it a day full of deals, the foreign entities also made fresh investments in at least two Indian firms, but the total size of these deals was smaller at about Rs 550 crore.

However, it was the exit announcements -- media baron Rupert Murdoch-led News Corp from Hathway Cable (about Rs 360 crore) and Datacom and Malaysian government's investment arm Khazanah from Yes Bank (about Rs 550 crore) -- that caught the attention.

Also, these deals came close on the heels of global banking giant Citigroup selling its holding in domestic financial services giant HDFC (for about USD two billion), Singapore government's investment arm Temasek paring its stake in ICICI Bank, and a few private equity players selling shares of HDFC as also Kotak Mahindra Bank.

The market experts are mostly attributing these deals to mostly the foreign entities cashing on their investments in India, given a sharp rebound in their valuations in past few months. After falling by over 25 per cent during 2011, the stock market valuations in the country soared by about 20 per cent in the first few weeks of 2012.

Also, the foreign entities having sold stakes in recent past continue to have significant exposure in India despite these recent deals. Also, it has been foreign investors only, that have acquired most of the assets sold by overseas firms.

Exiting its investment in Indian cable operator Hathway Cable & Datacom, News Corp today sold its entire 17.3 per cent stake for Rs 358.39 crore to two foreign funds, Macquarie Bank Ltd and Providence Equity Advisors.

News Corp held this stake in Hathway Cable as a promoter entity, through a group entity Asian Cable Systems Pvt Ltd.

The reasons for News Corp offloading its holding in the company could not be ascertained immediately.

Still, News Corp continues to have a significant India presence, including in media and entertainment businesses.

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