Wednesday, January 10, 2007

NYSE, Goldman Sachs, General Atlantic, SAIF to buy 26% in NSE

The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and US-based global investment banking giant Goldman Sachs are among a group of institutional investors who are about to buy around a 5% stake each in National Stock Exchange (NSE), India’s biggest bourse. The NYSE, Goldman Sachs, General Atlantic Partners and Softbank Asian Infrastructure Fund have entered into an agreement with ICICI Bank, IFCI, IL&FS, PNB and GIC for the purchase.

NSE shareholders IL&FS and IFCI are selling 5% each of their holdings in the exchange to Goldman Sachs and NYSE in two separate deals expected to be signed soon. The two shareholders currently hold 7.1% each in the exchange. IDBI and ICICI Bank, the two other institutional promoters, are also expected to offload part of their holdings in the exchange in subsequent deals. The valuation of the NSE is expected to be over $2 billion.

Earlier, Fidelity had bought around 9% in MCX; later, Goldman acquired over 7% in NCDEX, the other online commodity exchange.

The proposed sale of stakes comes close on the heels of guidelines issued by the RBI on foreign investment in Indian stock exchanges. The RBI has allowed foreign investment up to 49% in stock exchanges, fixing foreign direct investment (FDI) cap at 26% and FII limit at 23%. Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has stipulated investment limit for single foreign investor at 5% beyond which an FII or any other investor like foreign stock exchange will not raise its stake in stock exchanges.

NSE has 21 promoters: an assorted medley of public sector banks, LIC, ICICI Bank, IL&FS and IDFC. ICICI holds 12.5% and IL&FS has 7.1%. NSE is an extremely profitable entity. In FY06, it had a net profit of Rs. 206 crores on revenues of Rs. 472 crores. In FY07 it is expected to report a profit of Rs. 250 crores. It has 70% share of all stock transactions in India.

Read more about the deal in The Economic Times and

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