Welcome Back, Indian Billionaires – by Andy Mukherjee (Bloomberg News – January 5, 2018)


It’s hard to believe it now, but once upon a time Indians had a far bigger appetite for outbound M&A than their Chinese rivals.That was just before the 2008 financial crisis, which dealt a body blow to India Inc.’s global ambitions.

Then, in quick succession, came the credit-fueled growth of China’s state-owned enterprises; the yuan’s appreciation; a string of corruption scandals in India that bred a climate of distrust in 2013 and 2014; and the subsequent meltdown in commodity markets, which hurt the more internationally active Indian buyers. The tables have now turned so comprehensively it will be difficult, if not impossible, for the rankings to reverse.

Even last year, when Beijing was clamping down on Chinese firms’ shopping for trophy assets — like Anbang Insurance Group Co.’s purchase of the Waldorf Astoria or Dalian Wanda Group Co.’s takeover of Legendary Entertainment LLC — mainland buyers still ended up committing $144 billion to assets outside of China or Hong Kong.

India’s tally was a paltry $5 billion.Still, as the juggernaut of Chinese M&A rolls on (minus the flashy deals for which communist leaders have developed a distaste), Indians may not be down and out for too long. That’s the message from Kumar Mangalam Birla, whose Mumbai-listed Hindalco Industries Ltd. is bidding for U.S. aluminum producer Aleris Corp.

According to Bloomberg reporters George Smith Alexander and Bhuma Shrivastava, the deal could value Aleris at about $2.5 billion, including debt. The last time Birla attempted anything this bold was when he paid $5.7 billion for Novelis Inc., the vehicle he’s using now to buy Aleris. That was 11 years ago.

For the rest of this article: https://www.bloomberg.com/gadfly/articles/2018-01-05/indian-billionaires-are-back-on-world-dealmaking-stage