At the end of a tumultuous year, India Business Law Journal celebrates the top transactional achievements of 2008 and the law firms that made them happen. Chris Crowe reports from London

India’s transactional clout was drastically reined in by the gloom of economic uncertainty and the subsequent global financial crisis. After the blockbuster initial public offerings of 2007, there was only one substantial offering on the Bombay Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchange of India during 2008. Similarly, while in 2007, Tata Steel, ArcelorMittal and others spent billions acquiring overseas assets, 2008 may seem disappointing in comparison.

Yet in a year that will be remembered by many for the onslaught of the global financial crisis and the horrific November terrorist attacks on Mumbai, India has made great strides in its economic development. While the total volume of deals may have fallen, many landmark transactions were brought to fruition during 2008, several of which set new standards in terms of their value, complexity, innovative structuring and international scope.

In its second annual Deals of the Year awards, India Business Law Journal is proud to celebrate these immense achievements. In a unique and extremely challenging period for international business, the skill, vision and foresight of the corporate leaders and legal professionals who crafted and brought to fruition this year’s winning deals is to be recognized and applauded.

Withstanding the freeze

The significance of this year’s winning deals becomes all the greater when viewed in the context of the unfolding financial crisis and the large number of potentially high-value deals that failed to be executed or were quietly withdrawn (see The deals that weren’t, page 34).

India’s stock markets soared in 2007 and dived in 2008. The Bombay Stock Exchange’s Sensex slipped to under 10,000 points in October from a record high of over 20,000 just a year before. On 21 January, it crashed 1,408 points in just one day’s trading, drastically affecting investor confidence. The fall effectively paralyzed the country’s equity markets, leaving Reliance Power’s US$2.93 billion IPO as the sole bulge-bracket domestic listing of the year.

Nevertheless, the legal community associated with India-related transactions remains surprisingly active. Investors have maintained an acquisitive zeal for India with the market values of Indian companies no longer wildly inflated, as they were in 2007. Private equity houses have turned away from the highly leveraged deals of yesteryear and looked for smaller deals that involve less reliance on debt. India has become a popular avenue for such investments as illustrated by Providence Equity Partners’ US$640 million investment in Aditya Birla Telecom and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts’ US$250 million stake in Bharti Infratel.

Rabindra Jhunjhunwala, a partner at Khaitan & Co, says: “The capital markets have been an issue and real estate deals have had a setback, but we have been busy. Our corporate clients and private equity clients have found opportunities that they couldn’t afford to miss.”

Rabindra Jhunjhunwala Partner Khaitan & Co

According to data from Mergermarket, private equity activity was robust in India for the majority of the year. Completed buyouts up to 31 October amounted to US$2.8 billion in comparison to US$3.13 billion for the whole of 2007.

GMR Infrastructure provides evidence of huge strides in the energy sector, while market firsts such as the multi-jurisdictional Daiichi Sankyo-Ranbaxy buyout and Reliance Power’s IPO – the largest listed company deal and the largest IPO in Indian history, respectively – highlight the robust market conditions that prevailed until the last quarter of the year.

Alka Bharucha, a partner at Bharucha & Partners – a Mumbai-based law firm that was established in March by former partners of Amarchand Mangaldas – says that deal activity remains buoyant despite global market conditions. “I think the first half of the year was very good for India and remained along the lines of last year,” she says.

“We have seen a slowdown in capital markets activity as of March and after that there were no large and successful issues, but there was still a fair amount of M&A activity and we remain frequently engaged on joint ventures. Foreign joint-venture partners are coming in and will be here for a long time.”

Overseas opportunities still beckon

India’s largest companies have lost none of their fervour for overseas acquisitions. Much of this relates to India’s demand for natural resources and energy. ONGC Videsh’s bid to acquire UK-listed Imperial Energy, for example, was intended to gain access to oil resources in Russia and Kazakhstan.

India’s leading companies have also demonstrated a hunger for foreign technology and leading brand names. Tata Motors’ landmark acquisition of Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford afforded it two of the most illustrious brands in the automotive industry, coupled with cutting edge technology and systems.

Chris Parsons, head of the India group at London-based Herbert Smith says: “India is a very important and increasing part of our business. We have moved from a position of having only a limited number of deals to now having 45 partners focused to varying degrees on India.”

Changing legal market

There appear few indications of imminent legal market liberalization in India, so for now at least, international firms like Herbert Smith continue to boost their India expertise overseas. Domestic firms such as FoxMandal Little, which opened its London office last year, strive to strengthen their international credentials (see Venturing out, page 47). Non-exclusive affiliations such as those established between Linklaters and Talwar Thakore & Associates in 2007, and Allen & Overy and Trilegal in 2008 (not to mention several others that have not been publicly announced), suggest an attempt by law firms to achieve synergies and bolster cross-jurisdictional skill sets in anticipation of India finally opening its doors.

Khaitan & Co surprised many in September by hiring Murali Neelakantan, the former India group head of Ashurst, along with a senior associate from the UK-based firm, to take up partnership positions in its Mumbai office. “Their arrival indicates that we have been able to create interest in us, which other firms have not been able to. Our firm is international and has systems and practices that compare to the Magic Circle [in London],” says Jhunjhunwala.

Jhunjhunwala observes that Indian law firms, which have traditionally been awarded secondary roles on cross-border transactions, are now taking more prominent positions. With competitive billing rates and increasing sophistication, India’s leading law firms, he believes, are primed to secure ever more crucial roles on diverse international transactions.

The winning deals

Following a lengthy period of research and consultation, India Business Law Journal has selected 15 landmark deals that showcase transactional legal work at its very best. The winning deals, which have been divided into the categories of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and capital markets and finance, are drawn from a number of sectors including M&A, private equity, capital markets, infrastructure and real estate. While their values may be lower than many of last year’s winners, the hurdles that domestic and international law firms have had to contend with were often much greater.

The winning deals have been chosen subjectively based on numerous submissions from Indian and international law firms, a range of interviews with India-focused legal and corporate professionals and transactional data supplied by Mergermarket and Thomson Financial. In arriving at its final decisions on the winning deals, India Business Law Journal’s editorial team evaluated the significance of all shortlisted transactions from a legal and regulatory standpoint. The value, complexity and uniqueness of each deal was considered, as was any precedents that may have been established for future transactions.

M&A Deals of the Year

M&A Deals of the Year 1

Japanese pharmaceutical giant Daiichi Sankyo acquired generics producer Ranbaxy Laboratories for US$4.6 billion in the largest listed-company deal in Indian history.

A multi-jurisdictional transaction, the deal was fraught with intricacies, further compounded by the need for navigation through a stringent and heavily regulated pharmaceutical sector.

Anand Pathak of P&A Law Offices, which advised Daiichi, explains: “The deal covered all the continents of the globe and from a purchaser and seller perspective, this triggered notifications on regulations across the world. It was certainly not a deal which merely involves a public tender offer.”

Anand Pathak Partner P&A Law Offices

As part of the deal, Daiichi Sankyo would acquire the entire shareholding of the Singh family, the largest and controlling shareholder of Ranbaxy, while Malvinder Singh would retain his position as CEO of the company.

“The sellers were not exiting the company and remain in management of the company. It is a partnership between the Japanese and Indian company, not an outright sale,” says Pathak. “It was a kind of a merger of talent between a generics company and an R&D company.”

P&A Law Offices worked alongside its affiliated international firm Jones Day (led by Scott Jones in Tokyo) in advising Daiichi. Vaish Associates represented Ranbaxy.

M&A Deals of the Year 2

In November, Japan’s NTT DoCoMo, a leading mobile communications company, announced a deal to acquire a 26% stake in Tata Teleservices (TTSL) for US$2.7 billion. The deal, which values India’s sixth largest mobile phone operator at US$10.38 billion, is subject to Indian regulatory approvals. It will give the Japanese mobile operator a strong foothold in the world’s fasted growing mobile market.

Upendra Joshi, a partner at Khaitan & Co who advised DoCoMo, says: “DoCoMo clearly views its proposed investment in TTSL as a long-term partnership. Although the start-to-finish time extended for about five months given that the transaction was initiated through a bidding process, each individual aspect of the transaction had an extremely challenging timeframe.”

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom is international counsel to NTT DoCoMo while AZB & Partners (Zia Mody) is representing Tata Teleservices.

M&A Deals of the Year 3

One of the largest overseas acquisitions by an Indian company, ONGC Videsh’s bold bid to acquire UK-listed Imperial Energy for £1.4 billion (US$2.6 billion) was announced at the end of August and was yet to close at the time of writing.

ONGC Videsh is the offshore investment arm of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation. The state-owned Indian energy company demonstrated its eagerness to obtain foreign oil reserves through its pursuit of Imperial Energy, which holds significant assets in Russia and Kazakhstan.

A team from Linklaters led by Michael Sullivan is representing ONGC Videsh, while Ashurst is acting for Imperial Energy.

Linklaters’ India group head Sandeep Katwala explains that “acquisitions such as these once more demonstrate the increasing influence of Indian companies globally”.

M&A Deals of the Year 4

India’s fifth-largest mobile phone operator, Idea Cellular, a wholly owned subsidiary of Aditya Birla Telecom, purchased BK Modi Group’s 40.8% stake in Spice Communications for US$759 million. Idea Cellular simultaneously received a US$1.7 billion equity infusion from Telekom Malaysia (another substantial shareholder in Spice Communications).

With the aggregate deal valued at more than US$2.4 billion, the acquisition represents one of the largest M&A transactions in India. Highlighting the numerous considerations associated with the purchase, Alka Bharucha, a partner at Bharucha & Partners, which represented Idea Cellular, explains: “The transaction involved a number of parties and steps and each party had different objectives in the three-way deal. Modi wanted an exit and Telekom Malaysia wanted to get a substantial equity in Idea Cellular.

“In my 20-odd years of practice I have never done such a complex transaction,” continues Bharucha. “You had FDI [foreign direct investment] issues, licence agreement issues and overlapping licences between Spice Communications and Idea Cellular. We had SEBI takeover regulatory issues with Spice and Idea being both listed companies and subject to a lock-in agreement.”

Alka Bharucha Partner Bharucha & Partners

London-based law firm Norton Rose represented Telekom Malaysia along with Indian firm Crawford Bayley & Co. Gibson Dunn & Crutcher led by Jai Pathak, formerly of Jones Day, advised BK Modi.

M&A Deals of the Year 5

Tata Motors’ multibillion-dollar acquisition of Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford is another illustration of the bullishness demonstrated by Indian companies early in 2008.

The US$2.3 billion deal involved the careful extraction of Jaguar and Land Rover, which were firmly embedded into Ford’s business.

Chris Parsons, head of the India group at London-based Herbert Smith, the firm that represented Tata Motors, says: “We had employees across a number of products, accounting and computer systems, and engineering and development platforms that were intertwined with Ford’s business. This was undoubtedly the most complex element of the transaction. We had to put in place more than 60 separation agreements and help Tata Motors launch its own systems to produce Jaguar and Land Rover on a standalone basis.”

Under the terms of the deal, Ford paid US$600,000 into the Jaguar and Land Rover pension fund.

Parsons suggests that the deal illustrates India’s growing influence within the global economy.

“It says something about the confidence of Indian companies, that they are willing to go outside India and buy very significant businesses and acquire technology and systems that they can bring back to India,” he says.

The deal plants Tata in the unique position of manufacturing some of the world’s most prestigious and expensive cars, alongside its most affordable.

Led by Nimi Patel and David Patterson, Herbert Smith employed 160 lawyers on the transaction, using its global network, members of its alliance with Dutch firm Stibbe and Gleiss Lutz in Germany, and a string of additional firms in jurisdictions where it has no presence.

US law firm Hogan & Hartson, led by William Curtin, Hywel Jones and Claud Eley, represented Ford.

Allen & Overy, led by Thomas Brown, represented the consortium of banks that provided Tata with a US$3 billion debt facility.

Deals of the Year 2008 The winning M&A deals

M&A Deals of the Year 6

GMR Infrastructure’s US$1.1 billion purchase of a 50% stake in InterGen was the largest acquisition of a global energy utility by an Indian company to date.

The deal strengthens GMR’s position as a frontrunner in the energy sector, enabling it to compete with domestic and international power giants.

“It creates a footprint for GMR around the globe,” comments Nandan Nelivigi, a New York-based partner at White & Case, the law firm that represented GMR on the deal. “It provides the company with a number of operating assets and a pipeline of development assets. The deal catapults them into large power company status, which qualifies them to do ultra mega power projects in India.”

Nandan Nelivigi Partner White & Case

Power companies are required to have a certain amount of megawatts under operation to be eligible to bid for India’s ultra mega power projects. GMR previously teamed up with China Light & Power (CLP) to bid for a major project, but CLP withdrew from the alliance at the last minute, leaving GMR unable to bid on its own.

Although these projects naturally gravitate towards established Indian corporations such as Reliance and Tata, GMR has now become a contender in this league, according to Nelivigi.

US firm Sidley Austin, led by Irving Rotter, represented InterGen.

M&A Deals of the Year 7

Tata Chemicals, part of India’s largest conglomerate, Tata Group, acquired the soda ash business of US chemical company General Chemical Industrial Products (GCIP) for US$1.01 billion, giving it 14% of the world’s soda ash capacity. Harbinger Capital Partners previously held a majority stake in GCIP.

When the deal was announced, Homi Khusrokhan, managing director of Tata Chemicals, told reporters: “This is a timely acquisition from an Indian viewpoint. We are picking up a US asset at a time when the Indian rupee is strong. It’s strategically important for us as a group. I think this particular acquisition is going to change the fortune of Tata Chemicals in the years to come.”

US firm Akin Gump represented the Special Committee of the Board of Directors of GCIP.

Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison advised Harbinger. AZB & Partners and Hogan & Hartson teamed up to represent the acquirer, Tata Chemicals.

Capital markets and finance Deals of the Year

Capital markets and finance deals of the year 1

The 4,000-megawatt Mundra project marks a significant milestone in the advancement of India’s much-publicized ultra mega power ambitions. Nine ultra mega power projects (UMPPs) have been announced by the Indian government and Mundra was the first to successfully execute loan agreements for financing. The financing is the largest for an Indian power project to date.

Mundra consists of five 800-megawatt units utilizing supercritical clean coal technology. It is the first private sector project in India to use such technology.

“This is a landmark transaction and is worthy of worldwide deal of the year,” comments Rohit Chaudhry, a partner at Chadbourne & Parke, the firm which represented the lenders on the financing. “The deal was huge at US$4.3 billion and at 4,000 megawatts it was the largest limited recourse project in India’s history. It was the first ultra mega power project in India and this after all the disasters of the 1990s.”

Rohit Chaudhry Partner Chadbourne & Parke

The infamous 740-megawatt Dabhol plant shut down in May 2001 and resulted in a series of costly and controversial claims. It marked the end of UMPPs in India, until the appearance of the Mundra project. Mundra also highlighted the return of foreign lenders to India with the International Finance Corporation providing a US$450 million facility, its largest exposure to a single project.

The Asian Development Bank committed to a further US$450 million. “This is the way forward to solve the energy crisis and exorcizes the ghost of the Enron Dabhol power project and rectifies those issues,” says Chaudhry.

“It was an incredibly complex transaction with so many different lenders and the unusual fuel supply arrangements. Imported coal creates a real challenge and the sponsor wanted to have a flexible approach in procuring fuel.”

Chadbourne & Parke teamed up with Indian firm Amarchand Mangaldas (led by L Viswanathan, Amey Pathak and Santosh Janakiram) as counsel to the lenders, which also include the Export-Import Bank of Korea, Korea Export Insurance Corporation, BNP Paribas and the State Bank of India. J Sagar Associates represented the project sponsors, Tata Power.

Deals of the Year 2008 The winning capital markets and finance deals

Capital markets and finance deals of the year 2

The State Bank of India (SBI), like other banks worldwide, was in need of a substantial injection of capital, partially to plug its shortfall in pension reserves. The lack of liquidity in the banking sector prompted the launch of a successful rights issue in June, raising an impressive US$4.1 billion.

The deal was executed before banking stocks plunged only a few months later as the extent of the financial crisis became evident with the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the takeover of Merrill Lynch.

It was one of the largest equity rights issues completed by an Indian entity to date; a substantial achievement with it being fully subscribed during a period of deterioration in the Indian equity markets. “There was growing concern about sub-prime but people didn’t know how bad it would get,” says Alex Lloyd, a partner at Clifford Chance in Hong Kong who advised lead managers Citi, CLSA, Deutsche Bank, Merrill Lynch and Kotak Investment Bank on the rights offering.

As James Grandolfo, a partner at Allen & Overy in Hong Kong and lead international counsel to SBI on the transaction notes: “SBI had various capital requirements and looking to the debt markets wasn’t attractive. One way they could raise capital was through a rights issue. They needed that capital and it was additional capital without taking on more debt.”

Aside from being one of largest equity rights issues by an Indian institution, the deal had to be completed amid an uncertain financial climate and attract a broad and multinational mix of investors. “The bank wanted to tap as many shareholders as they could and that brings special challenges when you are dealing with the securities laws and regulators of each jurisdiction where you are making this offer,” Grandolfo explains.

Alka Bharucha, who was the lead Indian counsel and a partner at Amarchand Mangaldas at the time of the deal (she left Amarchand later in the year to become a founding partner of Bharucha & Partners), says: “There were a whole lot of challenges that revolved around the government as the largest shareholder and the regulatory requirements of SEBI, the Securities and Exchange Board of India. It was fairly new in the public sector context.” The government maintained a 51% shareholding in the bank.

Lloyd believes the deal has enormous historical resonance. “It raised substantial capital in India and reflected the depth of the markets there, and all before everything went to hell in a hand basket. The best thing about the deal was that the bank did it in time and was disciplined about the process. They allocated a lot of resources to it and understood that they were under the gun with the markets softening. They did it in time before the window shut.”

Capital markets and finance deals of the year 3

The largest IPO in Indian history, Reliance Power’s colossal US$2.93 billion offering on the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange of India was oversubscribed 73 times at closing. It received applications from over five million retail investors.

The deal marked the end of a series of blockbuster offerings on the Indian exchanges. Unfortunately for Reliance Power, it also coincided with a substantial slide in share prices.

“I think what has happened in the capital markets should be viewed independently from the deal,” says Hong Kong-based David Hirsch, a partner at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton who advised the underwriters on the transaction. “With respect to its size and the speed with which it was subscribed, it was a tremendous success. Raising so much money for what was effectively a start-up was incredible.”

The timing of the deal was fortuitous, preceding the serious downward spiral of Indian stocks that began in March. “We worked very hard back in the fall so that we were ready to launch the deal when the markets were ready,” says Hirsch.

The deal was unusual compared to an average IPO because Reliance Power, despite carrying the prestige of the Reliance brand, was little more than a start-up business. “With virtually no operating history, it made full disclosure of its operations and the risk the company takes forward [which is] very different to when you have an operating track record,” Hirsch explains.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton advised the underwriters led by investment banks Kotak Mahindra Capital and UBS Securities India, with J Sagar Associates acting as Indian counsel. Amarchand Mangaldas represented Reliance Power.

The deals that weren’t

A volatile market has left dozens of would-be deals in limbo Alfred Romann reports

In 2007, there were 106 IPOs in India. In the first 10 months of 2008, there were just 38.

Many companies postponed or cancelled their offerings. Emaar MGF put off a US$1.1 billion offering and Wockhardt Hospitals delayed a US$115 million deal even before the credit crunch intensified. JSW Steel postponed the IPO of its power unit (US$200 million), while Future Ventures India and Adani Power shelved IPOs worth US$750 million and US$1.1 billion respectively. Even the government backed away from its plan to issue an IPO of 10% of RITES, a public-sector rail infrastructure company.

Vedanta Group’s Sterlite Industries withdrew its US$2.6 billion bid for Asarco, a US copper mining company, following a steep drop in copper prices. It is now likely to make a new bid at a substantially lower price.

Tata Motors failed to find enough subscribers for a US$900 million issue in October to fund its acquisition of Jaguar and Land Rover. The parent group and underwriters had to step in.

Many other projects are on hold. Property developer DLF has shelved plans for hotels, residential and commercial developments. Power Finance Corporation has delayed a new project in Jharkhand. A new steel and power plant in West Bengal by Videocon Group is also on hold.

“The financial crisis has significantly affected transactional and capital raising deals in India,” says Gautam Bhattacharyya, a partner at Reed Smith. “Much of the funding raised by Indian corporates had been sourced through issues of foreign currency convertible bonds, but issues of these instruments have largely dried up.”

For some companies, the slowdown is an opportunity. Sunil Sheth, a partner at Fladgate in London, says his firm is working with various companies to buy back shares, which have dropped sharply in price.

“Once market conditions improve, I believe there will be liquidity available, but this will primarily come from institutions and some companies which are cash-liquid,” says Sheth. “I would expect future deals to be lowly geared. Perhaps valuations will become realistic and target companies more affordable for acquisition.”

None of this is likely to happen in the next few months. In the meantime the default mode seems to be wait and see, then wait some more.

“Few deals – whether worked on by us or by others – got to the stage where they were announced publicly, let alone to the stage where they were marketed and closed,” says Rich Baumann, a partner at Dorsey & Whitney.

It was a drastic turnaround, in a year that started out as one of the most promising in India’s financial history. In February, Dorsey had a record number of deals in motion, including one intended to raise billions of US dollars on a very short timetable, and involved several investment banks.

“In retrospect, these were all signs of the top of the market. When the Indian stock markets dropped in February, and kept dropping, almost all of these deals ground to a halt,” says Baumann. “Since then, some deals have progressed on a stop-start basis, and some not at all, and very few have actually been completed.”

Many of the investment banks Dorsey represented back in February have either been sold, gone bankrupt or are operating thanks only to the infusion of funds by government. February seems like a lifetime ago.

Still, there appears to be widespread agreement that as far as India is concerned, there is still reason for optimism.

“I do not have any doubt that once market conditions improve, India will receive much more foreign investment that she was projected to receive before the financial meltdown,” says Saurabh Misra, an associate partner at Paras Kuhad & Associates in Mumbai. Misra is optimistic that market conditions will improve significantly by the second quarter of 2009.

A few conditions must be met for things to turn around, says Akil Hirani, managing partner at Majmudar & Co in Mumbai: Inflation has to go down, GDP has to continue growing, stock markets have to stabilize and listed companies have to continue performing well.

A number of potential IPOs such as Reliance Infratel, Mundra Power, UTI Asset Management and National Hydro Power Corporation are waiting on the sidelines for these developments.

Capital markets and finance deals of the year 4

Though the real estate market was hit hard by plummeting stocks and the global financial crisis towards the end of year, DLF Assets Private – the property fund of major real estate developer DLF – secured an impressive US$825 million from Standard Chartered in March.

DLF featured prominently in India Business Law Journal’s 2007 Deals of the Year, having raised an enormous US$2.25 billion through its IPO on the National Stock Exchange of India and the Bombay Stock Exchange.

The Standard Chartered investment comes in the form of a private placement of convertible debentures by DLF.

Allen & Overy, led by Ban Leong Oo, Srinivas Parthasarathy and Weeliem Seah, advised Standard Chartered.

Capital markets and finance deals of the year 5

In a landmark private equity transaction, Providence Equity Partners sunk an impressive US$640 million into wireless communications company Idea Cellular, a wholly owned subsidiary of Aditya Birla Telecom.

The deal indicates that private equity investors have not been entirely dissuaded from speculating on the Indian economy despite the global financial uncertainty. The investment will be used for the network rollout and Aditya Birla’s ongoing operations.

US law firm Debevoise & Plimpton worked alongside India’s Nishith Desai Associates on behalf of Providence Equity Partners. Amarchand Mangaldas represented Idea Cellular.

Capital markets and finance deals of the year 6

On 7 February, the Bank of India launched one of only a few high-value qualified institutional placements (QIPs) in 2008. The capital-raising technique gained popularity in 2007, but with the capital markets in relative disarray over the last three quarters, this previously active segment was becalmed.

The US$340 million transaction marked the first QIP of a public sector bank. Vibhava Sawant, a partner at Khaitan & Co, and head adviser to the lead managers, says: “It took the best efforts of the firm to provide proactive and diligent coordination among seven bookrunning lead managers, including keeping each of them happy at the same time and completing the transaction in 35 days flat.”

Luthra & Luthra represented the Bank of India.

Capital markets and finance deals of the year 7

In a noteworthy private equity transaction, giant buyout fund Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) invested US$250 million in Bharti Infratel through its dedicated Asia fund. The investment amounted approximately to a 2% stake in the communications tower subsidiary of Bharti Airtel.

KKR has made a series of high profile investments in India, including buying a US$900 million stake in Flextronics Software Systems in 2006.

The company’s preferred law firm, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, led by London managing partner Gregory Conway, advised on the deal, while AZB & Partners represented Bharti Airtel.

Capital markets and finance deals of the year 8

KSK Emerging India Energy Fund raised an impressive US$200 million through its offering, in one of a limited number of significant India-related AIM listings in 2008. The newly formed Guernsey incorporated fund focuses on investments in the power and energy sector in India.

Daksha Baxi, a partner at Khaitan & Co, who advised the fund, says: “It was a fast-track, focused and demanding listing process involving interaction with a host of service providers in Guernsey, the UK and Mauritius. We provided Indian tax and regulatory advice, including a review of related documents and agreements to reflect the selected structure for a tax efficient investment by the fund.”

London-based Ashurst, led by Robert Ogilvy Watson, also advised the fund on its listing.