India Business Law Journal showcases the most significant deals of 2017 and the law firms behind them. Nandini Lakshman reports

The overarching theme in India in 2017 was demonetization. It ravaged the economy, slackened the growth momentum and put a temporary damper on major economic activities. Many aspects of the economy are not out of the woods yet fully.  Even as demonetisation was hailed by many, the populace at large had to tackle a liquidity crunch, unemployment and a brief halt to major activities, according to data provided by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The rest of the year saw India Inc and a host of state-run enterprises hit the market. The Bombay Stock Exchange became the first bourse to go public. Rural Electrification Corporation and others embarked on a fundraising cruise, sailing on initial public offers (IPOs), green bonds, offer for sale, issuance of senior notes, high yield bonds and more.

Law firms had their hands full as nearly every genre of private and public businesses were hungry for funds. They advised film companies owned by Bollywood actors for exclusive digital rights arrangements for their films. Big production houses were granted video streaming rights for some of their blockbuster movies, while a major Hindi film was uploaded on a digital streaming platform.

Private equity firms were the most active. Eris Lifesciences was the largest pharmaceutical company from India to go public, and one of the largest to date private equity exits by way of an IPO. Others like Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries restructured its promoter holdings, while Tata Steel restructured the pension scheme for its UK workers.

However, the mergers and acquisitions arena was not as buoyant as previous years. Many companies went in for corporate debt restructuring and buyback of listed securities, etc. And finally, six insurance companies were listed in 2017; three were trading below their issue price, including two state-run companies General Insurance Corporation and New India Assurance.

A note on methodology. India Business Law Journal selected 50 landmark deals and disputes that were completed between November 2016 and November 2017 following a lengthy period of research and consultation. These deals and cases have been chosen subjectively based on transactional data, submissions received from Indian and international law firms, and interviews with India-focused legal and corporate professionals. These have been arranged in the article by value.

In deciding the winning deals and cases, our editorial team evaluated the significance of all shortlisted contenders from a legal and regulatory standpoint. Deals were chosen not only for their size, but for the novelty and complexity of the transaction or case and for any precedents that may have been established. The same criteria was applied in choosing the star deals.

CAPITAL MARKETS

State Bank of India qualified institutional placement

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$2.3 billion Allen & Overy
Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co
Squire Patton Boggs

State Bank of India (SBI), the country’s largest state-owned bank, saw a lot of takers for its qualified institutional placement (QIP). The QIP was the largest institutional equity offering from India to date. India’s insurance behemoth, Life Insurance Corporation, bought more than 38.6% of shares in the QIP. Post dilution, the government’s stake in the public sector bank shrunk to 57.07%.

The QIP is the third-largest equity offering in the Asia-Pacific region. SBI chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya told media that “the capital was raised mainly in order to support growth because we very much believe that growth is around the corner”.

Allen & Overy acted as international legal counsel to the underwriters, while Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas advised SBI as Indian legal counsel. Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co represented the underwriters. Squire Patton Boggs represented SBI as international counsel on the deal. The team was led by Biswajit Chatterjee, partner and co-head of the India practice, senior associate Kaustubh George and associates Gowri Reghuvaran and Anandee Banerji.

New India Assurance’s IPO

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$1.4 billion AZB & Partners
Luthra & Luthra
Squire Patton Boggs

This was one of the first initial public offerings by a government-owned general insurance company. Since the issuer had a longstanding history of more than 98 years and was a government undertaking operating in the insurance sector, the transaction involved various complicated issues involving regulators such as the Securities and Exchange Board of India and the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India, as well as coordination with the ministry, structuring of disclosures in the absence of documents, etc.

AZB & Partners acted as Indian legal counsel to New India Assurance Company, while Luthra & Luthra represented the underwriters. Squire Patton Boggs advised New India Assurance Company as international legal counsel on the IPO. The team was led by partner Biswajit Chatterjee, assisted by senior associate Kaustubh George and associate Anandee Banerji.

SBI Life Insurance Company IPO

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$1.3 billion AZB & Partners
Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas
Khaitan & Co
Milbank Tweed Hadley and McCloy
Squire Patton Boggs

SBI Life Insurance Company is the largest private life insurance company in India. The company had the largest IPO for a life insurance company in India in terms of offer size in the last seven years. The IPO comprised an offer for sale by State Bank of India and BNP Paribas. AZB & Partners advised BNP Paribas. The team was led by partners Varoon Chandra, Lionel D’Almeida and Arvind Ramesh. Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas acted for SBI and SBI Life. Khaitan & Co represented the book running lead managers. The team was led by partner Abhimanyu Bhattacharya with associate partner Aditya Cherian.

Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy advised BNP Paribas, Citigroup and Deutsche Equities. Squire Patton Boggs advised SBI Life. The team was led by co-head and India practice partner Biswajit Chatterjee with senior associate Kaustubh George.

Vedanta Resources high-yield bond offering and tender offer

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$1 billion Allen & Overy
Khaitan & Co
Latham & Watkins

Vedanta issued five-year bonds to raise US$1 billion. The deal included two parallel transactions. One was the bond issue and the other was the tender offer for some of the company’s previously outstanding bonds, which were repaid by the new bond. The bonds listed on the Singapore Exchange, were the largest single tranche G3 high-yield bond issuance by an Indian company since 2015.

Khaitan & Co partner Manisha Shroff was the sole Indian legal adviser on the tender offer to purchase for cash all or part of Vedanta Resources’ outstanding bonds due 2019 and US$900 million 8.25% bonds due 2021, followed by new fund raising pursuant to the offering of US$1 billion 6.125% bonds due 2024.

Latham & Watkins advised Vedanta Resources in its offer of 6.3% bonds due 2022 and the tender offer. Allen & Overy acted as the legal advisors to the joint global co-ordinators, joint lead managers and joint bookrunners.

Joint investment platform with Tata Power, ICICI Venture Funds

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$850 million Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
AZB & Partners
Khaitan & Co
Norton Rose Fulbright

Canadian pension fund Caisse de Depot et Placement de Quebec (CDPQ), Kuwait Investment Authority and wealth fund State General Reserve Fund of Oman set up a US$850 million investment platform with ICICI Venture Funds Management and Tata Power, which is one of India’s largest electricity producers, for investments into thermal and hydro power assets in India.

The deal combined the expertise of two of India’s leading business groups with internationally reputed sovereign wealth funds and pension funds. The platform will enable the players to establish a greater presence in India and increase their investment footprint in the country’s infrastructure ecosystem.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld was the legal adviser to Tata Power and ICICI Venture Funds Management on international law. AZB & Partners was the Indian counsel to Tata Power and ICICI Ventures. Khaitan & Co was the Indian counsel to CDPQ. Norton Rose Fulbright acted as the international counsel to CDPQ.

Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services’ multicurrency notes

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$763 million Allen & Overy
Khaitan & Co

Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services opted for a US$763 million medium term note programme and became one of the first private sector non-banking financial companies to issue rupee-denominated bonds overseas – also known as masala bonds.

Allen & Overy was the sole international counsel for the arrangers and dealers. Khaitan & Co acted as the sole domestic counsel to Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services. The team was led by executive director Sudhir Bassi and partner Manisha Shroff.

Foreign currency bonds issue by Adani Ports

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$500 million Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas
Latham & Watkins
Linklaters
Luthra & Luthra

This was the third foreign currency bonds issue by Adani Ports and one of the first foreign currency debt issuances to be completed under the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2015. The listing regulations imposed additional obligations on listed companies (compared to the erstwhile listing agreement) in relation to disclosures of certain events such as details of agreements executed and schedule of meetings with investors and prior intimation in relation to certain sensitive matters like the pricing of an issuance.

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas acted as the legal counsel to the issuer as to Indian law. Latham & Watkins was the legal counsel to the issuer as to US and English law. Linklaters advised the joint lead managers on US and English law. Luthra & Luthra acted for the joint lead managers as to Indian law.

ReNew Power’s green high-yield bond issuance

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$475 million Allen & Overy
Appleby
Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas
Latham & Watkins
Talwar Thakore & Associates

ReNew Power, an Indian green energy producer that is majority owned by Goldman Sachs and backed by Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, raised US$475 million in green bonds. The fundraising was the company’s maiden US-dollar denominated bonds issue. To meet the central bank guidelines, a back-to-back issuance was done through a special purpose vehicle – Neerg Energy – an independent entity that bought rupee-denominated offshore bonds (masala bonds) issued by ReNew Power.

In February, Neerg raised US$475 million from institutional investors across the world, which it used to purchase 31.8billion of masala bonds from ReNew. The offering enabled ReNew Power to raise low-cost funds that it could use to refinance existing debt and expand its business. The masala bond issuers were also not exposed to any foreign exchange risk.

Allen & Overy advised the dealers as to English, New York and US federal securities laws. The team was led by partner Amit Singh. Appleby represented the issuers as to Mauritian law. Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas was co-counsel/local counsel. Latham & Watkins’ Singapore and New York offices advised the guarantor as to English & US tax laws. Talwar Thakore & Associates advised ReNew Power Ventures as guarantor.

Rural Electrification Corp’s green bonds

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$450 million Allen & Overy
Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas

The state-run Rural Electrification Corp became the first Indian public sector undertaking to raise funds through green bonds. The bonds were the first 10-year green bonds to be listed on the green bond segment of the International Securities Market of the London Stock Exchange; the bonds were also dual listed on the Singapore Exchange.

According to the company, the bond proceeds will be deployed for small hydro projects and for financing and refinancing existing and new green projects in wind, solar and biomass. This green bond issue was certified by the Climate Bonds Initiative and verified by an independent assurance statement.

Allen & Overy’s Hong Kong office advised as to English law, led by partner Amit Singh. Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas’ Mumbai office advised the issuers.

Private placement by MakeMyTrip

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$330 million Latham & Watkins
Shearman & Sterling
Stikeman Elliot

Online travel company MakeMyTrip’s private placement consisted of 4.5 million ordinary shares and as many Class B convertible ordinary shares. This was a uniquely structured private placement of shares by MakeMyTrip to its existing shareholders and new investors. The deal was structured to address timing concerns and issues arising from a recent significant acquisition completed by MakeMyTrip.

Latham & Watkins advised MakeMyTrip in the private placement. The deal was led by the firm’s Singapore partners Rajiv Gupta and Michael Sturrock. Shearman & Sterling acted for the underwriters. Stikeman Elliott was the co-counsel/local counsel.

Samvardhana Motherson’s global notes offering

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$300 million Allen & Overy
Baker McKenzie
White & Case

Auto parts maker Samvardhana Motherson Automotive Systems raised US$300 million through a dollar bond sale. This was the first high-yield bond issuance from India for nearly a year. The issuer was the Dutch subsidiary of Motherson Sumi Systems, one of the largest automotive parts suppliers globally. This is the lowest-yield, long tenor corporate bond to date from an Indian private sector corporate.

Allen & Overy acted as legal counsel to the joint global coordinators and joint lead managers. Baker McKenzie represented Samvardhana Motherson Automotive Systems Group, led by Pallavi Gopinath Aney in Singapore and Adam Farlow in London. White & Case was legal counsel to Deutsche Bank as trustee.

Spandana Spoorthy Financial raises funds from consortium

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$270 million AZB & Partners
Nishith Desai Associates
Shearman & Sterling

Spandana Spoorthy Financial, a debt-ridden microfinance player, raised over US$100 million in equity capital from a consortium of investors such as Kedaara Capital, Ontario Teachers Pension Plan Board and Soros Fund Management. It raised an additional US$170 million in debt capital from IndusInd Bank, Yes Bank and ICICI Bank.

The deal involved a complex corporate debt restructuring (CDR) process. The funds are being used to repay and restructure Spandana’s debt with 37 different lenders and exit the CDR scheme.

AZB & Partners acted for Kedaara Capital and IndusInd Bank. Nishith Desai Associates advised Spandana Spoorthy. The Shearman & Sterling team, led by Singapore M&A partner Sidharth Bhasin, advised Ontario Teachers Pension Plan Board on the investment.

Eris Lifescience IPO

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$260 million Khaitan & Co
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co
Sidley Austin

The IPO by Eris Lifesciences was the largest by a pharmaceutical company in India, and one of the largest-ever private equity exits by way of an IPO. The public offer was subscribed 3.3 times. However, the non-institutional segment was undersubscribed. The company’s existing shareholders, ChrysCapital’s investment arm Botticelli’s, founder Amit Bakshi and other investors including Himanshu Shah and Rakesh Shah, sold 28 million shares in the 600-603 price band.

Khaitan & Co acted as the legal counsel to the underwriters. The core transaction team included executive director Sudhir Bassi, partner Abhimanyu Bhattacharya and senior associate Navodita Gupta. Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co was the co-legal counsel to the company and the selling shareholders. Sidley Austin was international legal counsel to the book running lead managers.

Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management IPO

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$238 million Khaitan & Co
Luthra & Luthra
S&R Associates
Sidley Austin

The Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management IPO was a combination of a fresh issue by the company, and an offer for sale by Reliance Capital and Nippon Life Insurance Company. Equity shares of the company were listed on the BSE and NSE effective from 6 November 2017. It was also the first listing by an asset management company in India.

Khaitan & Co was the legal counsel to Nippon Life on Indian law. Luthra & Luthra advised Reliance Capital. S&R Associates represented the book running lead managers and the bankers.

Cochin Shipyard IPO

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$230 million Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas
Herbert Smith Freehills
Khaitan & Co

This was state-owned shipbuilding and ship repair company Cochin Shipyard’s initial public offer. The proceeds from the issue will be deployed to improve the shipbuilder’s existing facility and fund two major projects – setting up a new dry dock on the premises, and an international ship repair facility at Cochin Port Trust. The IPO was oversubscribed more than 76 times.

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas acted as legal counsel to the book running lead managers: State Bank of India, Edelweiss and JM Financial. Herbert Smith Freehills was international counsel to Cochin Shipyard and the selling shareholder. Khaitan & Co advised Cochin Shipyard and the selling shareholder regarding the IPO, and an offer for sale of equity shares by the government. The transaction was led by executive director Sudhir Bassi and associate partner Madhur Kohli.

GTL’s distressed exchange

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$207 million Allen & Overy
AZB & Partners
Sidley Austin

GTL is one of the largest independent telecom tower companies in India. Its books had a distressed exchange of US$207 million interest bearing convertible bonds for up to US$100 million and two series of zero-coupon mandatorily convertible bonds in conjunction with a strategic debt restructuring and corporate debt restructuring under RBI guidelines. The bond restructuring’s success permitted GTL to extend its debt maturity profile and reduce its leverage and interest expense thereby giving it the time and resources to consummate the corporate actions necessary to ensure its long-term success.

Allen & Overy acted as the legal adviser to the trustee. AZB & Partners was the Indian legal counsel to the issuer. Sidley Austin’s London and Singapore offices advised as the English and international counsel to the issuer respectively.

Government’s sale of shares in HUDCO

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$188 million Duane Morris & Selvam
Luthra & Luthra
Trilegal

The government sold 10.1% of the outstanding shares in Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO), which provides loans for housing and urban infrastructure, in an IPO, and concurrent private placements outside India (including a rule 144A offering). The shares were listed on the National Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange.

The IPO saw huge demand from investors and was subscribed nearly 80 times. This was the first public sector undertaking IPO in more than five years. Duane Morris & Selvam acted as the international counsel for the government; Luthra & Luthra was the Indian counsel for the government; Trilegal advised the underwriters.

STAR DEALSBombay Stock Exchange IPO

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$186 million AZB & Partners
Clifford Chance
Crawford Bayley & Co
Nishith Desai Associates

The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) finally went public in January 2017, 140 years after it was set up. Belying expectations the stock listed on rival National Stock Exchange, surged 35% higher than its 806 issue price. This is the first IPO by a stock exchange in India. The Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in the same month made it easier for stock exchanges to list their shares through an IPO. SEBI had amended the existing Stock Exchanges and Clearing Corporations regulations in December 2015 paving the way for stock exchanges to go public.

The move also follows demand from investors in stock exchanges for listing of the bourses, which could provide them an opportunity to unlock the value of their investments. “For us, it’s only the beginning. The premium listing is not enough. We now have to deliver,” said the ecstatic BSE chairman, Sudhakar Rao. The bourse is probably the world’s largest exchange going by the number of listed companies. The shares of over 3,000 companies have been traded on the exchange.

Varoon Chandra Partner AZB & Partners

AZB & Partners acted as the legal adviser to the issue. “An IPO by an Indian stock exchange encounters several hurdles, specifically given the fact that the shareholding is strictly regulated and is required to be closely monitored. This IPO was the first to test the feasibility and adequacy of these mechanisms introduced by SEBI,” pointed out AZB partner Varoon Chandra.

Clifford Chance was the international legal counsel to the managers. Crawford Bayley & Co advised the selling shareholders as to Indian law. Nishith Desai Associates acted as the legal counsel to the managers as to Indian law.

National Aluminium Company offer for sale

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$185 million Crawford Bayley & Co
Jones Day
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co
Squire Patton Boggs

In the first public sector undertaking divestment of 2017, the government raised US$185 million by offloading a 9.2% stake in the state-owned National Aluminum (NALCO). Originally, the disinvestment in the offer for sale (OFS) was pegged at 5% of paid-up capital, but the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) exercised an option to retain over-subscription and raised the offer to 9.2%.

This option was used for the first time since the modified OFS procedure was put in place by the Securities and Exchange Board of India in 2016.

Crawford Bayley & Co acted as Indian legal counsel to DIPAM and Nalco. Jones Day acted as US counsel to the brokers. Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas acted as Indian legal counsel to the brokers. Squire Patton Boggs advised NALCO and DIPAM on the offer for sale. The team was led by partner Biswajit Chatterjee.

STAR DEALSIndian Energy Exchange IPO

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$155 million Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas
Nishith Desai Associates
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co
Sidley Austin

Indian Energy Exchange (IEX) is India’s first energy exchange to go public with its premier power trading platform, through an offer for sale by its existing shareholders in October 2017. The power exchange offers trading in electricity products in India and also provides an automated platform for the physical delivery of electricity. It enables efficient price discovery and offers participants the opportunity to trade in a variety of energy products. As India’s largest energy exchange, IEX commands a dominant market position.

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas advised Indian Energy Exchange and Tata Power. The firm’s Mumbai and Delhi-based capital market partners Yash Ashar and Gokul Rajan. Mumbai-based capital markets partner from Mumbai, Gaurav Gupte represented Tata Power.

Nishith Desai Associates acted for certain selling shareholders including Lightspeed Venture Partners VIII, Golden Oak; Madison India Opportunities III and Aditya Birla private equity trust. Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co advised the book running lead managers on Indian law, while Sidley Austin represented the BRLMs as international legal counsel.

CreditAccess Asia completes multi-investor investment

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$103 million Allen & Overy
Greenberg Traurig
Jones Day
Purrington Moody Weil

CreditAccess, an Asian microfinance player based in the Netherlands and active primarily in India and Southeast Asia, raised funds from multiple investors that involved: the conversion of outstanding bonds into equity; investment by the Asian Development Bank (ADB); conversion of bonds held by private equity fund Olympus Capital Asia; and a further investment round by new investors.

Allen & Overy represented the ADB, while Greenberg Traurig and Purrington Moody Weil represented Olympus Capital, and Jones Day advised on the microfinance institution CreditAccess Asia.

STAR DEALSCentral Depository Services’ IPO

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$81.1 million AZB & Partners
Herbert Smith Freehills
Nishith Desai Associates

This is the first IPO by a depository in India, and Central Depositary Services (CDSL) is the only listed depository in the country. Similar to stock exchanges, an IPO by an Indian depository encounters several hurdles specifically because IPOs by Indian depositories were not contemplated within the scope of the earlier regulatory framework. Given that the shareholding in an India depository is strictly regulated, it also had to be closely monitored.

AZB & Partners represented CDSL, while Nishith Desai Associates acted as legal counsel to the managers on Indian law, and Herbert Smith Freehills advised as international counsel to the managers.

STAR DEALSFundraising by education startup Byju’s

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$80 million ALMT Legal
AZB & Partners
Lexygen
Themis Associates

Bengaluru-based edu-tech startup Think and Learn set up by Byju Raveendran, which operates under the eponymous name Byju’s, has come a long way. For one, the tagline “Fall in love with learning” was good enough to attract much wanted attention. The idea was to reinvent how students learn and transform learning into fun by using their learning app and classes.

Investors instantly fell in love with the deal and loosened their purse strings. The start-up raised US$50 million from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which is a personal fund set up by Facebook. founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan; an undisclosed amount from the World Bank arm International Finance Corp., and US$30 million from Verlinvest, a Brussels-based family office.

Dhanya Menon Partner ALMT Legal

ALMT Legal was counsel to the founders and the company, Think & Learn. The deal was led by partners Dhanya Menon and Arindam Basu. “The deal clicked due to the unique space of Indian education technology, in which Byju’s operates successfully, continuing to interest financial and strategic investors,” said Dhanya Menon, partner at ALMT Legal.

AZB & Partners represented International Finance Corp. Lexygen founder Vijay Sambhamurthi advised Verlinvest. Themis Associates advised the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

DISPUTES

Larsen & Toubro versus Indian Oil Corporation

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$18 million J Sagar Associates
Koura & Co

The disputes were in relation to a Larsen & Toubro (L&T) engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract for a captive power plant, forming part of Indian Oil Corporation Panipat naphta cracker plant. L&T had sought the refund of about 1.1 billion (US$18 million), withheld by Indian Oil as price discount towards delay in completion of contract works. Arbitration proceedings were initiated in 2015.

The arbitration involved complex issues relating to delay in completion. After a thorough analysis of the delay events, the facts were presented in the arbitration in a simple and logical manner. This resulted in avoiding lengthy party evidence and also the need for any expert evidence. This approach saved a great deal of time and cost in the arbitration resulting in a favourable award within 20 months of the constitution of the tribunal.

J Sagar Associates advised and represented L&T in the arbitration. Koura & Co acted for Indian Oil.

Jindal Steel, Jaypee-Griffin challenge tender process

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
N/A Little & Co
Mulani and Co

The Jindal Steel and Jaypee-Griffin consortium filed writ petitions in Bombay High Court claiming they were arbitrarily disqualified from being awarded the tender for development of a coal block. The contract was proposed to be in force for about 30 years and valued at US$10.8 billion. The petitioner withdrew the petition after the pleadings were filed on behalf of Maharashtra State Power Generation Co.

Little & Co advised and appeared on behalf of the Maharashtra State Power Generation Company. Mulani & Co and lawyer Abhijeet Mhatre represented Jindal Steel and the Jaypee-Griffin consortium.

Nokia’s pre-suit litigation

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
N/A Anand and Anand

Finnish company Nokia used pre-suit litigation to resolve matters relating to infringement of its standard essential patents (SEPs) against a multitude of entities in India. Nokia filed several suits and was able to settle its disputes in eight months. The strategy saved costs, resources, time and made Nokia the only cellular SEP owner in the world that has successfully licensed a majority of the Indian market.

Anand and Anand worked closely with Nokia Technologies in reaching patent licences for Nokia’s cellular SEPs for the largest Indian handsets.

Pioneeer Overseas Corp versus Kaveri Seeds

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
N/A Anand and Anand
Infini Juridique

Pioneer Overseas Corp, a DuPont group company, accused Hyderabad-based plant breeder Kaveri Seeds of copying the gene structure of a variety of corn developed by the US-based firm. Kaveri Seeds claimed it developed the plant in-house. According to Archana Shankar, Pioneer Overseas, the foreign company had earlier registered its new hybrid corn plant in India’s plant variety registry.

Under the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001, the Registrar of Plant Varieties was allowed to pass interim orders against breeders of seeds and plant varieties. It gave powers that were not conferred in other IP laws. In a bold move, Pioneer Overseas approached the Supreme Court and challenged the order of the high court. Pioneer succeeded in obtaining a stay of the order that rendered the above-mentioned provision as constitutionally invalid.

Anand and Anand managing partner Pravin Anand acted for Pioneer Overseas Corp. Infini Juridique’s counsel Abhishek Saket advised Kaveri Seeds.

Tata Sons’ WhatsApp order

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
N/A Anand and Anand

Tata Sons brought a case against four unknown defendants who had sent derogatory messages to a senior official. Delhi High Court allowed the plaintiff to serve the court’s official summons instantly to one of the defendants through the popular messaging service, Whatsapp as these could not be made at any available address. Besides being the first such order of Delhi High Court, this precedent also marks the judiciary’s footprint in the technology era. Anand and Anand represented the Tatas.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

Merger of Aditya Birla Nuvo with Grasim Industries

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$4 billion Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas
Khaitan & Co

Aditya Birla Nuvo was created as a springboard for the group’s diversification into unrelated and new areas like financial services, telecom and apparel. This transaction created one of India’s largest and best diversified companies with a combination of robust cash generation and high-growth businesses. The combined company has a portfolio of manufacturing and services businesses with a leading presence across cement, financial services, telecom, textiles and chemicals. The merger is also part of the Aditya Birla group’s restructuring, which includes the demerger of Aditya Birla Financial services.

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas advised Aditya Birla Financial Services. Khaitan & Co acted as the deal counsel advising Grasim Industries, Aditya Birla Nuvo and Aditya Birla Financial Services on the merger and the subsequent demerger. The team was led by senior partner Haigreve Khaitan, partner Mehul Shah and associate partner Sameer Shah.

STAR DEALSeBay Singapore’s investment in Flipkart

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$1.4 billion Allen & Gledhill
Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas
Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian
J Sagar Associates
Morgan Lewis & Bockius

In India’s biggest ever start-up funding, the Flipkart Group raised US$1.4 billion from eBay Inc., Tencent Holdings and Microsoft Corp. eBay Singapore Services then invested in Flipkart, resulting in the 100% acquisition of eBay India by Flipkart Singapore.

This was the largest investment in Flipkart’s 10-year history. It was also the largest round of funding in the e-commerce space for the online major. The deal involved extensive due diligence and was complex given the different legs of the transaction, eBay Singapore was the investor as well as the seller. The aggressive funding was largely done to take on Amazon which is believed to be way ahead of its peers.

Allen & Gledhill was the Singapore counsel to Flipkart. Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas acted as the Indian counsel to Flipkart. Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian was the international counsel to Flipkart. J Sagar Associates advised eBay Singapore and its affiliates including eBay Inc. Morgan Lewis & Bockius’ US and Singapore offices represented eBay.

Fosun Pharma takes 74% stake in Gland Pharma

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$1 billion Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas
Khaitan & Co
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett
Troutman & Sanders

Fosun Pharma acquired a 74% stake in India’s Gland Pharma from assorted shareholders, including KKR, the promoter family, and others through a mix of primary and secondary acquisitions. This transaction was the largest acquisition of an Indian company by a Chinese firm.

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas was Indian counsel to KKR and the promoters of Gland Pharma. Khaitan & Co advised Fosun International, group company Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical, and various subsidiaries on the acquisition.

Simpson Thacher and Bartlett’s Hong Kong office acted as foreign counsel to Gland Pharma and KKR, while Troutman & Sanders’ Shanghai office was foreign counsel to Fosun Pharma and its subsidiaries.

Silgan Holdings acquires WestRock’s dispensing system business

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$1 billion AZB & Partners
Khaitan & Co
Winston & Strawn

Consumer goods packaging company Silgan Holdings entered into a global purchase agreement for the acquisition of WestRock Company’s dispensing systems business across jurisdictions. As the Indian entity of WestRock was undertaking multiple businesses, it carved out the relevant business which formed part of the transaction prior to the acquisition. Accordingly, the India leg of the deal was structured in a way that required WestRock to incorporate an India subsidiary, which obtained the requisite licences to conduct the business. The India portion was then transferred to the new company.

AZB & Partners advised Silgan Holdings. The team was led by partners Darshika Kothari and Divya Mundra with associates Pankhuri Govil and Aashna Kothari. Khaitan & Co acted as the Indian legal counsel to WestRock Company. Winston & Strawn was the global legal adviser to Silgan Holdings.

Bharti Airtel reduces Bharti Infratel stake

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$952 million AZB & Partners
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co

In a secondary sale in March 2017, telecom operator Bharti Airtel offloaded a 10.34% stake in its subsidiary, Bharti Infratel, to private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) and the Canada Pension Fund Investment Board (CPPIB). This shrank Bharti’s stake in Infratel to 61.7%, with the balance held by fund managers.

The transaction provided Airtel with much-needed funds to battle billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliace Jio, which has signed up more than 100 million users since it started offering free voice and data services in September 2016.

AZB & Partners represented Bharti Airtel, while Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co acted for KKR and CPPIB.

MakeMyTrip’s acquisition of Ibibo Group

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$720 million Allen & Overy
Cravath Swaine & Moore
Latham & Watkins

In one of India’s largest M&A deals in the online travel space, MakeMyTrip acquired the Naspers-owned Ibibo, which operates an e-commerce and online travel portal. Naspers and Tencent, through their jointly owned holding company, sold Ibibo Group to MakeMyTrip in exchange for an issuance of new shares by MakeMyTrip.

The combination brings together a bouquet of leading consumer travel brands including MakeMyTrip, goibibo, redBus, Ryde and Rightstay.

Allen & Overy acted for the seller. Cravath Swaine & Moore was counsel to both the target and the seller, while Latham & Watkins advised MakeMyTrip.

Claris Lifesciences sells global generics injectables business

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$625 million Herbert Smith Freehills
Latham & Watkins
Luthra & Luthra
Veritas Legal

Ahmedabad-based Claris Lifesciences ran a competitive bid process prior to the sale of its global generics injectables business to Baxter International.

The structuring of the transaction was complex since the commercial requirements had to be reconciled with regulatory framework of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). The deal was extremely time sensitive given that it was an outcome of a bid process. The complexities in this transaction were further enhanced since the deal closed at the cusp of transitioning of the FIPB regime. This was one of the last transactions that was approved by FIPB prior to its dissolution. Herbert Smith Freehills acted for Claris Lifesciences on international law. Latham & Watkins advised purchaser Baxter International. Luthra & Luthra represented the purchaser on Indian law. Veritas Legal advised Claris Lifesciences on Indian law.

Investments by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$246 million Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas
Khaitan & Co
Torys

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) is increasingly investing across businesses in India. This time it has forayed into real estate scooping up Phoenix Mills and its subsidiary Island Star Mall Developers, a strategic investment platform to develop, own and operate retail-led mixed use developments across India. The deal is the first-of-its-kind for India’s retail real estate industry and is CPPIB’s first retail real estate venture in India.

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas was the Indian legal advisor to CPPIB. Khaitan & Co advised Phoenix Mills and Island Star Mall Developers. The team was led by partner Siddharth Shah and associate partner Mayank Singh. Torys acted as the international legal advisors to CPPIB.

Bharti Airtel’s acquisition of Tikona Digital

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$ 240 million AZB & Partners
Gibson Dunn & Crutcher
IndusLaw
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co
Trilegal

Bharti Airtel, the largest mobile network operator in India, acquired 100% of the share capital of broadband service provider Tikona Digital Networks, along with its 4G spectrum, in five circles, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh (east and west), and related assets. Separately, as part of the transaction, Tikona’s 4G spectrum in the Rajasthan circle is being transferred to an Airtel affiliate, Bharti Hexacom.

In conjunction with the share sale, Tikona undertook an internal restructuring, pursuant to which its wireless broadband business will continue to be held by its shareholders in a separate company. Given the contractual and regulatory requirements, coupled with the varying rights and interests of Tikona’s diverse investor and creditor base (with both domestic and foreign investors and creditors), the transaction entailed multi-step structuring and complex negotiations.

AZB & Partners acted for Bharti, while Gibson Dunn & Crutcher partner Richard Birns advised Goldman Sachs, a substantial stockholder in Tikona. The team was led by partners Yogesh Singh and Nikhil Narendran and supported by senior associates Ankush Goyal, Ramya Suresh, Nimisha Mund and Vishal Sagar.

IndusLaw partner Kartik Ganapathy acted for private equity firm Oak India Investments. Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co was co-advisers to Tikona Digital Networks. Trilegal had separate teams acting for Goldman Sachs and the International Finance Corporation on their sale of shares in Tikona.

Arpwood Partners acquires Karvy loan portfolio

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$200 million AZB & Partners
Samvad Partners
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co
Trilegal
Wadia Ghandy & Co

Arpwood Partners, led by investment bankers Rajeev Gupta and Amol Jain, acquired the small business, portfolio of non-banking finance company Karvy. According to media reports, the private equity firm has sidestepped big corporate loans, focusing on small commercial vehicle loans, small loans against gold, and small and medium enterprise loans. This is a rare instance of an out-of-court leveraged buyout of a financially troubled seller.

AZB & Partners advised Karvy financial services, while Samvad Partners advised Arpwood Partners on its limited partners (LP) agreement. Trilegal advised the LPs of Arpwood. Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co advised Arpwood on the acquisition and Wadia Ghandy & Co advised on Arpwood’s issuance of non-convertible debentures.

STAR DEALSTata Steel UK sells specialty business

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$130million Clyde & Co
Slaughter and May

Tata Steel monetised some of its businesses owing to its struggles. One such hive off was the sale of Tata’s specialty steel business to Liberty House, the UK-based international metals and industrial group. Under the terms, the purchase included many South Yorkshire-based assets including the electric arc steelworks and bar mill at Rotherham, the steel purifying facility in Stocksbridge and a mill in Brinsworth, service centres in Bolton and Wednesbury, UK, and in Suzhou and Xi’an, China.

Clyde & Co represented Liberty House Group. Slaughter and May advised Tata Steel UK on the sale.

STAR DEALSPerkinElmer acquires Tulip Group

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$150 million J Sagar Associates
Wadia Ghandy & Co

With in vitro diagnostics becoming one of the fastest growing medical segments in India, the US-based, New York-listed PerkinElmer (PKI) acquired entities of the Goa-based Tulip Group, one of the largest manufacturers of medical devices in India.

The transaction involved Tulip Diagnostics (TDPL) acquiring the assets of five partnerships, as well as the shares of a group company, prior to the sale of shares to PKI. The latter acquired the TDPL shares through a Luxembourg entity. Once TDPL became a PKI subsidiary, a bridge loan was taken to pay for the assets of the five partnerships. The deal involved creating escrows for shares, indemnity and deferred consideration accounts to facilitate the transaction. Five business transfer transactions, one share purchase transaction and one investment by a non-resident into an Indian company were closed simultaneously. This was one of the biggest deals in the medical devices space.

Sidharrth Shankar Partner, J Sagar Associates

J Sagar Associates acted for the Tulip Group and its promoters, led by partner Sidharrth Shankar, principal associate Shantanu Jindel and senior associate CV Srikant. “For us the high point of the deal was achieving everything for the closing of the transaction in a time-bound manner considering the entire value of the business was split across various companies and partnerships in a sector which is highly regulated. We structured the consolidation of the value of the business into one holding company in a seamless manner and made it possible for the acquirer to close in one shot,” said Shankar. Wadia Ghandy & Co represented PKI.

TrueNorth, others invest in Fincare Business Services

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$78 million Desai & Diwanji
DSK Legal
Khaitan & Co
Platinum Partners

A clutch of private equity investors including True North, LeapFrog Investments, TA Associates, Edelweiss Tokyo Life Insurance, Tata Opportunities Fund, SIDBI and others in mid-2017 raised US$78 million to invest in Fincare Business Services, one of the best performing microfinance businesses in India.

Disha Microfin, a Fincare group company and flagship business, received an in-principle approval from the Reserve Bank of India to become a small finance bank. The platform operates over 270 offices in seven states in south and west India. According to the news website VCCircle, Fincare Business Services has worked with Edelweiss Financial Services to raise capital to rejig its foreign ownership in an effort to comply with regulatory norms.

Desai & Diwanji acted for Tata Capital. DSK Legal represented True North. Khaitan & Co advised TA Associates. Platinum Partners advised KKR.

Bharat Forge acquires WT Walker Group subsidiaries

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$14 million Godfrey & Kahn
Kelley Drye & Warren

Bharat Forge purchased the entire outstanding equity of Walker Forge Tennessee and PMT Holdings, the two subsidiaries of WT Walker Group, a US-based steel forging company with operations in Wisconsin and Tennessee. The transaction involved complex structuring issues to address certain corporate and real estate matters, which were addressed by the seller’s counsel. Godfrey & Kahn advised the sellers. Kelley Drye & Warren acted for Bharat Forge.

Elara Technologies’ acquisition of Locon Solutions

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
N/A Allen & Gledhill
AZB & Partners
IndusLaw
Khaitan & Co
Morrison & Foerster
Nishith Desai Associates
Rajah & Tann
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co

Elara Technologies, the Singapore-based parent entity operating the Proptiger.com and Makaan.com portals through its Indian subsidiaries, acquired a majority shareholding in Locon Solutions, which operates the Housing.com portal.

The transaction involved managing complex rights and expectations of large sophisticated investor bases at both the acquirer and target levels, and was one of the biggest deals in the online real estate listings space. This was a multiple-leg market consolidation transaction, and involved juxtaposing the interests and expectations of financial investors with those of the strategic stakeholders.

As part of the transaction, REA Group and Softbank Group invested (through their affiliates) an aggregate of US$55 million, into Elara. PropTiger.com and Housing.com are two of India’s leading online real estate service providers, and together constitute one of India’s largest online real estate services companies.

Allen & Gledhill acted as Singapore counsel for News Corporation, led by partner Lee Kee Yeng. AZB partner Nanditha Gopal acted for SoftBank and Housing.com. IndusLaw partner Srinivas Katta advised Elara Technologies. Khaitan & Co acted for REA Group. Morrison & Foerster represented SoftBank. Nishith Desai Associates acted for Nirvana Digital Investment Holding and Nirvana Digital India Fund. Rajah & Tann acted as Singapore counsel for Elara. Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co acted for News Corporation. Its transaction team was led by partner Shuva Mandal.

Public Pension Capital, FiveW Capital acquire Viteos Mauritius

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
N/A Allen & Gledhill
Cary Olsen
Dechert
ENSAfrica
Nishith Desai Associates
Norton Rose Fulbright
Trilegal

Private equity fund Public Pension Capital (PPC), strategic investor FiveW Capital and the Viteos management acquired Viteos Mauritius, a technology-driven service provider for the alternative asset management industry. This is PPC’s maiden cross-border investment in India.

Founded in 2003 by India-born CEO Shankar Iyer, the New Jersey-based Viteos has a delivery centre in Bengaluru and operational hubs in US. FiveW Capital acquired a stake in Viteos, and continues to lead the company after the acquisition, which encompasses jurisdictions including Cayman Islands, India, Mauritius, Singapore and the US.

Dechert advised private equity fund Public Pension Capital from a US law perspective. Nishith Desai Associates advised Viteos. Norton Rose Fulbright acted for Viteos. Trilegal represented Public Pension Capital.

OTHER PRACTICES

STAR DEALSRestructuring of promoter holding by Reliance Industries

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$23.7 billion Khaitan & Co

Indian corporate groups with varied businesses are increasingly rejigging promoter holdings for a host of reasons. These include from redistribution of wealth among the family for succession planning and to tax saving. Also the general anti-avoidance rules will give the tax department powers to scrutinize transactions which may find a way out to avoid paying tax.

In March 2017, a chunk of Reliance Industries shares held by promoters changed hands by transfers among promoter group entities. This involved the transfer of around 36.28% of the share capital of Reliance Industries among the existing promoter group entities for 1.5 trillion (US$23.7 billion). This is the largest set of promoter transfers of a listed company.

Haigreve Khaitan Partner, Khaitan & Co

Khaitan & Co. acted for Reliance Industries, with a team led by partners including Haigreve Khaitan, Arindam Ghosh and Abhishek Sinha. “The sheer size of the transaction involving restructuring of the promoter holding called for meticulous planning and coordination. The unprecedented volume of securities transferred as part of the deal had its own set of challenges; and we are glad to be the sole legal advisers on the deal in which all facets had to be completed in time with surgical precision,” said Haigreve Khaitan.

STAR DEALSPension scheme restructuring by Tata Steel

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$21 billion Slaughter and May

After months of discussions Indian steel maker Tata Steel on 11 August 2017 finally embarked on a journey to disengage the US$21 billion British Steel Pension Scheme from Tata Steel UK, to minimize the risk to it. With Tata’s UK arm unable to support the pension scheme, the company would have faced financial difficulties, besides putting employees out of a job. This deal was done through a regulated apportionment arrangement (RAA) with the trustee, and the contingent creation of a new British Steel Pension Scheme, with the support of the Pension Protection Fund and the Pensions Regulator.

The move is expected to secure the jobs of nearly 10,000 workers in UK. This is an unusual step for a corporate group as such situations concerning pensions are rare for any company to undertake. Workers too are believed to have settled for lower benefits in lieu of investment. According to reports, Tata Steel group executive director Koushik Chatterjee told the British press that “the completion of the RAA follows months of hard work to provide the most sustainable outcome for pensioners, current employees and the business.

This is the largest pension scheme restructuring carried out in the UK to date.

Slaughter and May was the sole law firm to advise Tata Steel on its strategic planning and restructuring of its European business including recent disposals.

SpiceJet purchases Boeing, Bombardiers aircraft

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$16.6 billion K&L Gates
Link Legal India Law Services

The year 2017 began well for the no-frills carrier SpiceJet. The company purchased 150 Boeing aircraft for US$15 billion in January 2017, which was one of the biggest deals in the Indian aviation sector. This was one of the largest Boeing orders from India and the south Asian region. SpiceJet also purchased 50 Bombardier Q400 aircraft for US$1.6 billion. The agreements were executed in January 2017 for Boeing and October 2017 for Bombardier, but the delivery of the various aircraft will begin in 2018 and extend till 2025.

K&L Gates partner Sidanth Rajagopal was the lead counsel for SpiceJet. Link Legal India Law Services was the India counsel to SpiceJet.

Adhunik Power debt restructuring

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
US$507 million Argus Partners
Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas

This was a restructuring of debt amounting to US$507.58 million provided by the State Bank of India consortium to Adhunik Power & Natural Resources, a group company of Orissa Manganese & Minerals. It is one of the earliest successful restructurings in terms of the strategic debt restructuring (SDR) circular, with the transfer of equity by the lenders to a new investor, thereby entitling the lenders to provisioning benefits available under the SDR circular.

Argus Partners was legal counsel to Edelweiss Asset Reconstruction which acquired Adhunik Power after the restructuring. Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas’ Mumbai-based partners L Viswanathan and Amey Pathak advised the consortium of 22 lenders.

STAR DEALSSetting up National e-Governance Services

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
N/A SNG & Partners
Suvan Law Advisors

In late September 2017, the National e-Governance Services. (NeSL) received registration as the first information utility in India. NeSL is owned and promoted by leading public institutions including State Bank of India, Life Insurance Corporation of India, Canara Bank, Bank of Baroda, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank. Under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), information utilities store, authenticate and verify financial information received from companies and their creditors.

NeSL will serve as a one-stop shop for all the details of financial information that will ultimately aid establishing defaults as well as verifying claims in an expedited manner. The information will eventually facilitate the resolution of insolvency under the IBC in a time-bound manner, which is the ultimate objective of the code. Just as depositories changed the landscape of the Indian capital market in 1998, the information utility is expected to be a game changer for the insolvency regime in India. Being a one-stop solution for pre-validated financial information, NeSL is not only going to aid faster resolution of insolvency proceedings, but will also benefit the lenders in better decision making and the debtors to rehabilitate rather than go in for bankruptcy.

Sumit Agrawal Founding Partner, Suvan Law Advisors

SNG & Partners helped set up the utility. Suvan Law Advisors advised NeSL in setting up the information utility. “NeSL is a giant step in electronic evidence for enforcement of contracts in India,” said Sumit Agrawal, founding partner.

STAR DEALSTaj Mahal Palace trademark

VALUE PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
N/A Anand and Anand

In June 2017, Indian Hotels Company’s Taj Mahal Palace hotel became the first privately owned hotel to receive trademark protection in India (see Practitioner’s perspective, Page 44). The Taj Group of Hotels secured the image trademark rights for the hotel’s intricate exteriors and the 240-foot central red tiled dome under the Trade Marks Act, 1999.

It is also the first harbour landmark in the country to get IP rights protection for its architecture, which is symbolic not just for Mumbai, but India. The red dome continues to serve as the official triangulation point for ships of the Indian Navy to fix their position on the harbour. The 114-year old monument joins a distinguished club of iconic buildings around the world like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Sydney Opera House and New York’s Empire State Building that have been accorded trademark protection. This means that commercial use of the image of the dome and exteriors will now require prior written consent from the Taj Group.

Pravin Anand Managing Partner Anand and Anand

Anand and Anand managing partner Pravin Anand advised the hotel and handled the registration proceedings and completed the deal within seven months. “Under the trademark law, use of a trademark creates distinctiveness. The Taj Mahal Hotel got registered as a trademark on account of its extensive use, as a result of which if anyone saw the picture of the said hotel in connection with any goods and services, he would immediately relate the product with the house of Tatas,” said Anand. 

STAR DEALS bIGSTAR DEALS

DEAL PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS PRACTICE VALUE
Bombay Stock Exchange IPO AZB & Partners
Clifford Chance
Crawford Bayley & Co
Nishith Desai Associates
Capital markets US$186 million
Indian Energy Exchange IPO Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas
Nishith Desai Associates
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co
Sidley Austin
Capital markets US$155 million
PerkinElmer acquires Tulip Group J. Sagar Associates
Wadia Ghandy & Co
Mergers & acquisitions US$150 million
Central Depository Services’ IPO AZB & Partners
Herbert Smith Freehills
Nishith Desai Associates
Capital markets US$81.1 million
Fundraising by education start-up Byju’s ALMT Legal
AZB & Partners
Lexygen
Themis & Associates
Capital markets US$80 million
Restructuring of promoter 
holding by Reliance Industries
Khaitan & Co Other US$23.7 billion
Pension scheme restructuring by Tata Steel Slaughter and May Other US$21 billion
eBay Singapore’s investment in Flipkart Allen & Gledhill
Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas
Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian
J Sagar Associates
Morgan Lewis & Bockius
Mergers & acquisitions US$1.4 billion
Taj Mahal Palace Trademark Anand and Anand Other N/A
Setting up of National
e-Governance Services
SNG & Partners
Suvan Law Advisors
Other N/A

 

What makes a law firm a deal maker?

Trademarking the Taj