Brookfield now one of the biggest PE players in India, thanks to RIL deals

Brookfield recently acquired Oaktree Capital globally which will help it in broadening its offerings to bolster credit business in India
After inking two big deals with Reliance Industries (RIL) — which included acquisition of its pipeline and telecom tower assets — Canadian private equity (PE) fund Brookfield has quietly catapulted itself to become one of the biggest PE investors in the country with total investment of $16 billion. Brookfield had entered India around six years ago.

According to sources, the other big boys include Blackstone, with an investment of $12 billion, and SoftBank (through SoftBank Group Corp and SoftBank Vision Fund) with $10 billion. 

According to data shared by VCCEdge, which tracks all major PE deals, the other key players include two Singapore-based giants GIC with $10.5 billion and Temasek Holdings with $6.4 billion. According to those in the know, the Canadian PE fund, headquartered in Toronto, manages the assets that it buys in India in most cases.

The PE fund’s exposure is primarily focused on infra projects (where it invested $10 billion) and real estate (around $4 billion), among others. 

According to sources, Brookfield is looking at newer areas of growth like forging alliances or joint ventures with Indian corporates with expertise in fields in which it does not have experience so that it can launch specialised funds. 

In India, the company has over 40 deal experts and 6,000 employees.

Brookfield recently acquired Oaktree Capital globally which will help it in broadening its offerings to bolster credit business in India, though the business will run independently. 

Talks are on as to how the two could be synergised in India. When contacted, a Brookfield spokesperson in India declined to comment.

The PE company has made some big deals this year that helped it to overtake the other big boys. In March, Brookfield announced it was buying loss-making East-West Pipeline at an enterprise valuation of Rs 13,000 crore. It was the first deal where a pipeline owned by a private company was being monetised.  The deal with the Ambanis was followed by another mega deal in July under which it would invest Rs 25,215 crore in a trust that controls RIL’s telecom assets, giving it a 51 per cent stake.

The Canadian fund also invested in the real estate sector. For instance, it acquired the office and retail assets of Hiranandani Developers in Mumbai for $1 billion, bought four hotels from the Nairs of the Leela chain of hotels and struck a deal with the Essar Group to buy its commercial property in Mumbai’s Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) for Rs 2,400 crore. 

It has also been active in the renewable power space where it is believed to be in talks to invest $800 million in ReNew Power.

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