India Business Law Journal showcases the most significant deals and disputes of 2016 and reveals the legal advisers who guided them.
By Nandini Lakshman
With the Bombay Stock Exchange’s benchmark Sensex dipping by over 9% in the 2015-16 fiscal year, companies of all hues abandoned the equity highway to congregate on the debt route. Companies undertaking several big-ticket transactions with well-financed strategic investors and private equity funds were undeterred by signs of economic uncertainty.
A number of large global mergers had been announced much earlier, but unravelling complicated holdings and appeasing Indian shareholders took time. The sale of the debt-ravaged Essar Oil brought in Russian investors who altered the Indian landscape by acquiring and shedding assets. Also, sovereign wealth funds were permitted to extend external commercial borrowing facilities to companies, increasing bilateral investments.
The life insurance sector, in dire need of capital, was opened up in March 2015, but the action started only in 2016. Private player ICICI Prudential was the first to go public.
Shareholders were aggressive. At times, their vociferous opposition to some big deals forced the company to put more on the plate to win over minority shareholders. Corporate cooks worked up a deal platter that offered a delectable medley of colour, spice and even a touch of royalty. So, on the grand buffet were servings of green bonds, masala bonds and maharaja bonds, which were devoured by deal-hungry investors.
Following a lengthy period of research and consultation, India Business Law Journal has selected 50 landmark deals and disputes that were sealed between November 2015 and November 2016. These deals and cases, which are divided into four categories, 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.
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.
BANKING & FINANCE
1. Lupin’s bridge financing
PRINCIPAL LAW FIRMS
Indian pharmaceutical players are always on the lookout for potential targets to boost revenues. But now they are getting adventurous. Earlier these companies were refinancing their loans. Now they are increasingly considering acquisition loans to fund big purchases.
In March 2016, Lupin Pharmaceuticals completed its acquisition of Gavis Pharmaceuticals, a New Jersey-based generic drugs company, with bridge financing from JP Morgan.