BS has a story today on BCCL doing an IPO, not new news but here are a couple of things. First, last December I wrote about Bennett looking at a private-equity placement at an estimated valuation of $12 billion. Despite the markets crashing, it is unlikely that BCCL's valuation of itself has gone down, in fact the $15 billion number - in excess of Rs 60,000 crore has been mentioned, though Rs 50,000 crore is more plausible, even though that would be a earnings multiple of between 15-20x.
But, if Times has been looking so hard for a PE firm, why can't it find one?
The answer it seems is Papa Murdoch. SJ does not want Papa M to have any say in his company, even indirectly, now Indian PE firms have nowhere near the capital required to invest in BCCL, and many of the big boys of the PE world are close to Papa M (he is after all a client of so many of them). I mean, with Papa M looking longingly at the Indian Print market, SJ doesn't want to be funded by Papa's dosh.
Secondly, an IPO before the General Elections?
Very unlikely. While an IPO is on the cards by all indications, and not just because stock options will be handed out (with several million clauses in them) it is unlikely to happen with the UPA government still in power. If the BJP manages to pull off Karnataka, there will be absolute turmoil at the Centre.
By the way, with the gradual downfall of the honorary Doctor starting after his cars started tumbling all over the place and his cricket 'team', well didn't quite play ball - no knowing where the ball was. It is rather ironic that a man who claims to take a 'personal role' in everything he does (including selecting the girls for his calendar) claim not to have taken a 'personal' role in team selection? I mean you can take enough time to choose the girls (and even the air-hostesses) but in something that is possibly taking your reputation through mud, you let people play with $100 million. To sign a test team?