“Hotel Brands” : the “Devil Is in the Delivery” | BCG

Two Big Trends in the Hotel / Lodging industry are colliding…Whether Hotel-Companies get caught in the Pile-up or Steer-clear of the wreckage will have a big impact on their profitability…?

One trend is the industry’s increasing use of #Franchising, as a means of achieving more “Asset Light” #BusinessModels…For the past decade or longer, #HotelCompanies, have been divesting physical properties and becoming Pure #BrandOwners, and orchestrators because this model receives higher share-price multiples from public equity markets. One key consequence is that hotel companies increasingly must rely on individual franchisees to deliver the customer service experience that they have spent millions of dollars developing and educating consumers to expect—and that substantially defines their brands..

The other trend which is, the rise of information transparency and perpetual connectivity in the digital, and increasingly mobile, age…Online opinions affect more and more #Consumers, travel decisions…Our research shows that the two most trusted channels are personal recommendations (not surprisingly, 90 percent of people rely on these) and the opinions of other consumers they find online (70 percent trust those)…Our research also indicates that the average consumer spends 42 hours online—the equivalent of a full workweek—dreaming about, researching, planning, and making reservations for a four-day leisure trip, and then sharing the experience. Dreaming and researching take up 75 percent of the 42 hours—ample time to be influenced by what others have to say. This time is having an increasing impact on how people book and where they choose to stay, and this impact is showing up in hotel companies’ average daily rates (ADRs)…

Recent research by BCG involving more than a Dozen #HotelBrands, in several-categories shows a strong correlation between companies’ ratings on travel sites and their ADRs. Perhaps even more significant, we found a strong correlation between the consistency of those ratings and hotels’ ADRs…Companies that deliver Higher #CustomerSatisfaction, have the opportunity to charge more; conversely, consumers recognize those brands with inconsistent delivery—from both their own experiences and those of others—and discount the amount they are willing to pay...Within a network of multiple #PropertyOwners, the worst offenders can drag down the best performers and undercut brand ADRs across the board…In today’s #DigitallyDriven World…generating higher ADRs means delivering on the brand promise—and delivering consistently.

Many, if not most, hotel companies have come to grips with this #Operating-Disconnect, they understand that they are giving up direct control of brand delivery at precisely the time when consistency of that delivery has never been more important. They have taken steps to develop New #Strategies, Systems, and Processes for ensuring that their #FranchisePartners, deliver the #BrandExperience, that customers expect. (See Exhibit 2.) Those that successfully master the clear articulation of their brands and consistently execute the #BrandPromise, are rewarded—with Higher Revenues, a Bigger Pool of Potential Owner-Franchisees, and a product that achieves a premium in the marketplace...Those that do not increasingly pay the price…!!

Standards and Sticks:

With hotel networks today often spanning multiple brands, hundreds of owners, and thousands of properties, ensuring consistency of execution is a complex task. Companies undertaking brand renovation efforts face an even more daunting challenge as they must rely on owner-operators to deliver a new, different, enhanced experience, and to do so within the tight economic constraints of a highly competitive industry. Inconsistent execution can kill a brand renewal before it has a chance to prove itself.

The default approach on brand delivery for many hotel companies has been to develop a system of “brand standards” that they require franchisees and other operators to follow. These typically involve lengthy, highly detailed brand-standards manuals, providing instruction for everything from the number and content of information cards displayed in each guest room to rules for employee computer access. We regularly see manuals that run hundreds of pages and refer users to other manuals in the company’s collection for more detailed instruction on particular issues. Most make no attempt to prioritize or differentiate among standards or the impact they have on customer satisfaction. Very often, standards that directly affect what customers see and feel—cleanliness, for example—are given the same weight as specifications for things that are completely invisible to them…

This type of approach often ends up in companies resorting to sticks over carrots, punishing transgressions rather than offering incentives for good behavior. It adds stress to the relationship between franchiser and franchisee, and it can lead to corners being cut and inconsistent experiences for the customer from one property to the next. It also encourages owner-operators to put their efforts into avoiding transgressions rather than seeking to deliver the customer experience that the brand has promised. Most important, it does little to encourage better service, especially the kind of individualized service that customers tend to remember and post online about..

It Pays to Take a Better Approach:

Our experience, and that of many hotel companies, show that taking a more comprehensive approach to working with franchise partners on brand delivery can achieve a better result for travelers—and higher ADRs as a result. There are seven levers to pull; companies looking for the best execution will combine all of them..

Optimize the owner base. Each hotel company or brand has its own mix of property owners composed of large institutional franchisees with hundreds of properties or small, often family-run, operators—or a mix of both. Each requires a different style of engagement, and companies should think through how their mix of franchisees affects their brand delivery. They may want to favor one type of owner over the other, and gear the other components of brand delivery accordingly..

Define the franchisee relationship. Contracts define the relationship between franchiser and franchisee, of course, including the obligations of each party with respect to brand delivery—often in extensive detail. Companies need to approach these negotiations looking through a brand delivery lens. Smart negotiators seek to place an appropriate level of burden on the property owner to comply with brand-related requirements while leaving the company room to act as the ultimate brand steward when it needs to. Contracts today typically define undesired behavior on the part of the franchisee but much more rarely include incentives for providing better service or meeting customer satisfaction metrics. These agreements should be reviewed from the perspective of how they shape the customer experience as well as the business relationship between the franchiser and the franchisee…

Encourage owner engagement. Brand delivery is a tango: it takes two parties to do it effectively. Problems occur when companies do not appreciate the economic (or operational) impact of what they are asking their owners to do. Smart companies find the right balance between consultation and evaluation in their relationships with operators. For example, they can establish or update quality control processes that are based on customer expectations (see below) and establish clear rewards (and penalties) for operator performance…They can also build a business case that reinforces the value proposition for owners of meeting system wide service and #Customer-ExpectationMetrics…The interests of hotel companies and property owners may conflict at times, but both can find common ground over actions that lead to more satisfied guests who are willing to pay higher rates…

Build and motivate the team…Delivering on the brand promise is a function of countless day-to-day behaviors and habits within operators’ organizations. The very best strategy can fail if it is not appropriately distilled into necessary actions and capabilities. Few endeavors can have a bigger impact than working with owner-operators to help them recruit and train staff capable of delivering on the brand promise and building a team-focused organization. Many brand teams take an evaluative, rather than consultative, approach. They perform audits of compliance with the established standards, rather than helping the operator’s team provide a better product and service by, for example, defining the measures of success and putting in place processes, such as training and incentive programs, to help achieve them.

By instituting a more consultative approach, hotel companies can help their franchisees do the following :

  • Select employees on the basis of fit with the customer service culture.
  • Structure training programs to support excellent performance.
  • Encourage staff to put themselves in the customer’s shoes.
  • Pay according to performance.
  • Provide non-monetary incentives when pay is not directly linked to behavior.
  • Communicate effectively, providing employees with the information they need to do their jobs better.
  • Give employees autonomy and the authority to solve problems within certain standards.
  • Enforce standards and metrics.
  • Monitor feedback to drive continuous improvement.

Update quality control processes. Ensuring consistency across multiple properties with many owners requires updating existing processes and establishing new ones to replicate best practices and maintain focus on the critical factors that affect the customer experience. Most operators do lots of things well. The key for others is to identify best-in-class performers, analyze what makes their approach successful, and leverage this expertise by documenting processes to provide step-by-step guidelines for others. We have worked with multiple hotel chains to create a “process blueprint” that provides detailed information on best-in-class practices by department, standardizes opportunities across properties to provide similar customer experiences, reduces gaps and loopholes, serves as training material, and creates a framework for continuous improvement..

Prioritize standards. Standards do have an important place, of course. The focus should be on applying and enforcing standards when they have an impact on service and customer experience rather than developing an exhaustive, all-encompassing system that is doomed by its own weight and complexity. Again, incentives and rewards, as well as an appropriate means of correcting transgressions, are essential. Priorities are important. Research shows, for example, that customers care more about the quality of the bedding than the size of the TV. The goal should be a simple set of standards that are easy to comply with. They should give franchisees the ability to improve the experience but prevent them from cutting corners or taking shortcuts that could harm the brand…

Enforce the standards and metrics. Finally, hotel companies need to hold owner-managers accountable to documented standards and metrics that reflect the brand promise and customer experience. They need to establish a clear set of evaluation criteria to assess performance and understand where changes are needed, as well as a well-understood—and enforced—set of rewards and consequences for performance. Time limits should be set for implementing improvements or corrections. Carrots almost always work better than sticks, but both are necessary in most franchiser-franchisee relationships…

The global lodging industry is expected to approach $500 billion in revenues by 2015…Competition in established markets is intensifying, and #CustomerExpectations, are rising as companies seek to gain share and increase RevPAR (revenue per available room) through more amenities and better service…The devil, however, is in the delivery…Those companies that can work most effectively with their owner-manager partners to provide a high-quality—and consistent—brand experience will win the battle for more customers and higher rates…!!

SEBI fine-tunes “Draft-Regulations” for “Infrastructure Investment Trusts” in India | VCCircle

Leasing of land on which a Hospital or Hotel is located shall not be considered as an “ Infrastructure Project for the purposes of #InvITs”…!!

Securities market regulator #SEBI ( Securities and Exchange Board of India), has come out with more elaborate Draft Regulations for setting up “Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvITs), which prescribe at least 80 per cent of the corpus to be invested in completed or income generating assets for InvITs issuing public units, strategic investors to bring at least 5 per cent of the amount, InvITs offer size to be at least Rs 250 crore (around $42 million) and that the proposed holding of an InvIT in the underlying assets shall be not less than Rs 500 crore ($83 million)..

This follows a previous consultation note circulated late last year and incorporates the provisions delineated in the Union Budget which provided tax pass-through status to such investment vehicles..SEBI has called for comments on its draft proposals by July 24…

Here are some key points:

InvITs are proposed to provide a suitable structure for financing/refinancing of infrastructure projects in the country..It shall invest in infrastructure projects, either directly or through SPV. In case of PPP projects, such investments shall only be through SPV…

InvITs which propose to invest at least 80 per cent of the value of the assets in the completed and revenue generating infrastructure assets, shall raise funds only through public issue of units and minimum subscription size and trading lot for such InvIT shall be Rs 5 lakh. Rest 20 per cent may be invested in under construction infrastructure projects (subject to maximum of 10 per cent) and other permissible investments. The minimum public float in such issues would be 25 per cent, which is at par with equity issues on the bourses.

These other permissible investments include listed or unlisted debt of companies or body corporate in infrastructure sector (provided that this shall not include any investment made in debt of the SPV); shares of companies listed on a recognised stock exchange in India which derives over 80 per cent of operating income from infrastructure sector; government securities besides money market instruments, liquid mutual funds or cash equivalents..

An InvIT which proposes to invest more than 10 per cent of the value of its assets in under construction infrastructure projects shall necessarily raise funds through private placement from Qualified Institutional Buyers and body corporate and the minimum investment and trading lot for such InvITs shall be of Rs 1 crore. Such InvITs shall mandatorily invest in at least one completed and revenue generating project and not less than one pre- commercial operation date (COD) project. In such InvITs there should be at least five QIBs and a maximum of 1,000 institutional investors holding units.

Listing shall be mandatory for both publicly offered and privately placed InvITs…!!

The InvIT shall refund money to the applicants if it collects subscription of amount less than 75 per cent of the issue size as specified in the final offer document or in the case of public issues less than 20 subscribers buy the units of the InvIT. SEBI has also said the maximum oversubscription amount which can be retained by the InvIT would be capped at 25 per cent over and above the target.,

An InvIT prior to making an offer of units, either through public issue or private placement, may have strategic investors such as banks, international multilateral financial institutions, foreign portfolio investors including sovereign wealth funds, etc., which together invest at least 5 per cent of the size of the InvIT or such amount  as may be specified by SEBI.

An InvIT shall be a trust with parties such as sponsor(s), investment manager, trustee and project manager(s). A trustee can either be a debenture trustee registered with SEBI and not an associate of the sponsor(s)/investment manager; or an associate of the sponsor/investment manager having not less than 50 per cent of its directors as independent and not related parties to the InvIT. However, a trustee of InvIT cannot be trustee to another InvIT or an Alternative Investment Fund engaged in infrastructure sector.

The proposed holding of an InvIT in the underlying assets shall be not less than Rs 500 crore and the offer size of the InvIT shall not be less then Rs 250 crore at the time of initial offer of units.

The aggregate consolidated borrowing of the InvIT and the underlying SPVs shall be capped at 49 per cent of the value of InvIT assets. However, this may exclude any debt infused by the InvIT in the underlying SPV. Further, for any borrowing exceeding 25 per cent of the value of InvIT assets, requirement of credit rating and unit holders approval has been made mandatory.

SEBI has said leasing of land or building on which a hospital or hotel is located shall not be considered as an infrastructure project for the purposes of InvITs but if revenues are generated from operation and management of a hospital or hotel, then the same shall be considered as infrastructure project under these regulations.

If the sponsor of the InvIT is a developer it needs to have at least two projects which have achieved financial closure…

It calls for the investment manager to have net worth of at least Rs 5 crore if it is a body corporate or a company or net tangible assets of value not less than Rs 5 crore in case the it is a Limited Liability Partnership..

It should have at least five years experience in #FundManagement/#AdvisoryServices/development in the #InfrastructureSector and have at least two employees with five years or more experience each, in fund management/advisory services/development in the infrastructure sector; at least one employee who has five years of experience in the relevant sub-sector(s) in which the InvIT has invested or proposes to invest; an office in India from where the operations pertaining to the InvIT is proposed to be conducted…!!

“Rakesh Jhunjhunwala betting Highly on Retail”: “BCG expects sector to grow” to $200 bn in 5-7 years | Business-standard

India’s Billionaire-investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala’s, optimistic outlook on India’s Consumption-sector sent Retail Sector stocks soaring on Tuesday(25th June, 2014)…

Addressing Chief Executives from Retail and Consumer companies at the Confederation of Indian Industry’s Retail & FMCG summit on Tuesday, Jhunjhunwala said retail stocks hadn’t done well over the past-decade but he expected this year to be different, as Higher Income-Levels (Discretionary spending power would increase) would ensure better growth for these companies…

Looking ahead, he said he remained optimistic of the government’s effort to put the economy back on track….Once there is a semblance of growth, Funds should be pouring money into the Retail sector, he said…!!

Jhunjhunwala said companies in the Sector (domestic discretionary consumption)were perfectly positioned to ride a wave of growth in the Indian consumer-industry…..” The opportunity (in retail) is going to be there for a good period of time. The competitive incentive is going to go up,” he said at the opening session of the summit…

Jhunjhunwala also believes implementation of the long-debated Goods and Services Tax (GST) will provide a much needed boost to the consumer goods sector, currently witnessing a slowdown, given the slacking pace of the economy….“GST is one advantage that will come to the (consumer) business in two years….I think, in general, it is going to make India more tax-compliant,” he said….!!

Successful Retailing models, from the Food & Grocery sectors to Footwear and Lifestyle products, have done exceedingly well on the stock markets and given very high returns to investors, he said..

On the future of retailing in India, Jhunjhunwala said he was in awe of the D-Mart (chain of hypermarket and supermarkets in India, started by R K Damani). business model, where the company owned a majority of the outlets and had pledged to sell all products five per cent below the maximum retail price. “D-Mart today has 75 shops, the turnover is about Rs 4,000 crore and is growing at about 25 per cent a year. He has set up a model. I think if you want to learn, you must study D-Mart,” he added.

The Boston Consulting Group’s report on retailing, issued at the summit, expects the sector in India to grow from the present $40 billion to $200 bn in the next Five to Seven years, as India’s consumption story remains robust….Retail models, especially in the food and lifestyle segments, have done exceedingly well and given high returns to investors…

The report has covered 45 Retail and Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies. ..2014 will be a good year for retailing in India, as income levels have increased for much of the population…. Availability of a wide range of brands, from luxury goods to basic private label products, gave consumers more options to choose from and also boosted awareness of particular brands and products…

The FMCG sector has been annually growing at a consistent 11 per cent. This has been largely driven by steady growth in demand from consumers, who now have an array of brands to choose from. In the past five years, the growth had accelerated to 17 per cent. Though this had slowed in the past few quarters, India’s long-term consumer story remains intact. “FMCG is typically the last sector to slow down,” said ITC’s executive director for FMCG businesses, Kurush Grant. Over the past year, FMCG has also come under pressure and, hence, what is needed by the industry is to think about reviving itself, Grant said, adding recovery here will be faster than other sectors. Growing demand and rising incomes will continue to drive demand for lifestyle and FMCG products…

The BCG report highlights the need for and approach to how an integrated top-down effort to drive successful transformation can be undertaken in the FMCG and retail sectors..

There is a need to understand the consumer better and the last-mile connectivity distribution infrastructure and capabilities are critical to achieving success for FMCG businesses, it said…

“In VCs / PEs”, Birds of a Feather “Lose Money-Together” | by: Carmen Nobel | HBS Working Knowledge

The more “Affinity there is between two VCs / PEs investing in a Firm/Venture…”, the “Less-likely the Firm/Venture will succeed”, according to research by Paul Gompers, Yuhai Xuan and Vladimir Mukharlyamov…!!

To illustrate the old adage that Birds of a Feather Flock Together, there may be no better example than the #VentureCapital, industry..!

A recent study finds that #VentureCapitalists, have a strong tendency to team up with other VCs / PEs whose ethnic and educational backgrounds are similar to their own…”Unfortunately, that tendency turns out to be bad for business…”

“ AT THE EARLY-STAGE OF A COMPANY, YOU WANT THE PEOPLE AROUND THE TABLE TO CHALLENGE EACH OTHER…”

“Much of the homophily-literature in business research talks about the positive benefits of working with people who are similar to you—ease of communication, comfort level, and the like,” says Paul Gompers, the Eugene Holman Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, who cowrote the paper with HBS Associate Associate Professor Yuhai Xuan and Vladimir Mukharlyamov, a graduate student in the Economics department at Harvard. “What we show is that, in this context, the effects can be quite negative”..

The Team set out to Answer a Few Key-questions : What specific characteristics influence individuals’ desire to work together on an investment deal ?? And given that influence, how does affinity affect investment performance  ?? Do common characteristics lead to better communication, which then leads to better decisions ?? Or does like-mindedness lead to narrow decision-making, to the detriment of the deal  ??

The research began with a database of 3,510 individual venture capitalists and their investments in 12,577 companies between 1973 and 2003….Over the course of six years, the research team collected detailed biographical information on each VC, including ethnicity, educational background, and employment history. They then looked at who had invested with whom, and what those co-investors had in common…!!

Across the board, the researchers found that venture capitalists tended to co-invest in deals with other VCs who possessed similar characteristics. This was true regardless of whether the similarities were ability-based or affinity-based. For example, two VCs who graduated from the same undergraduate school were 34.4 percent more likely to collaborate on a deal than were two VCs from different alma-maters… And the probability of collaboration between VCs increased by 39.2 percent if they were members of the same ethnic minority group…!!

The data held up with what Gompers had observed qualitatively in his two decades of studying the venture capital industry…”There are strong affinity groups with Indian venture capitalists and entrepreneurs and with Chinese venture capitalists and entrepreneurs,” Gompers says. “And there’s sort of a cabal of Jewish entrepreneurs and VCs as well…”

The Team then examined how these similarities had affected the outcomes of the portfolio companies in the study…(For the purposes of the paper, a successful outcome was defined as one in which a company eventually filed for an initial public offering)

They found that the probability of success decreased by 17 %  if two co-investors had previously worked at the same company—even if they hadn’t worked there at the same time… In cases where investors had attended the same undergraduate school, the success rate dropped by 19 %… And, overall, investors who were members of the same ethnic minority were 20 %  less successful than investors with different ethnic backgrounds.

It dawned on the researchers that affinity might make it easier for one venture capitalist to guilt-trip another into making a bad deal—doing a favor for a friend. “We thought it could be that they only syndicate the deals to their friends that they can’t get anyone else to do,” Xuan says.

To test for that possibility, the team assessed the 12,577 investments according to measures that had proven to be indicators of future success, according to previous research…Such indicators included whether a company’s founder had a history of founding successful companies, the stage of the portfolio company (risky early stage versus less-risky later stage), and how much media attention the company had received at the time of investment…!!

Controlling for these factors, they found that the quality of the deals was not apparently affected by co-investor affinity…In other words, birds of a feather did not necessarily pick worse investments than birds of different feathers on day one…”It’s not like we invest into a deal that’s bad to start with, and therefore we get a bad outcome in the end,” Xuan says…

Rather, the lack of success among similar investors seemed to lie in the decisions that followed the investment…!!

In addition to granting Cash, Venture-capitalists are heavily involved in Hiring or Firing the CEO of the Portfolio-company, choosing a Board of Directors, devising an Overall Strategy, Identifying Potential-Partners, and so on…Indeed, the researchers found that the negative affinity effect was strongest in early-stage deals, which generally require more input from investors than do later-stage deals…

“[The] lower likelihood of success of co-investments between venture capitalists that share similar characteristics is triggered by them making inefficient decisions or even mistakes that they would otherwise avoid,” the researchers write in The Cost of Friendship.

They attribute this in-efficiency to “Group-Think,” the psychological phenomenon in which members of a group make poor decisions because they fail to consider viewpoints other than their own….“When you are really familiar with each other, you tend not to go outside of your circle to get an outside opinion,” Xuan says…!!

The findings are in line with some organizational behavior studies, which have found that that work groups perform better when members learn from one another’s disparate experiences…!!

“I think this carries over to venture-funded start-ups, in which having a diversity of venture-capitalists around the table is actually critical to their success,” Gompers says….”Take two people who once worked at Google, who went to Harvard Business School, and who are Indian American….They probably look at things in a very similar way and are unlikely to challenge each other…But at the early stage of a company, you want the people around the table to challenge each other…”

Gompers and Xuan make a point of sharing the finds with students in the MBA program at HBS, many of whom pursue careers in the venture capital industry. In fact, people with Harvard MBAs make up 24.4 percent of the professional ranks at venture capital firms in the United States, according to a study by PitchBook. A network that powerful must beware the power of group-think and collaborate with other networks, the professors advise.

“But it’s likely that if you’re an HBS MBA, you think like other HBS-MBAs, because you took the same courses from the same professors…And it’s important for students to realize that it might be useful to have a diversity of people around the table when you make investment decisions OR you’re working on New-ventures..That, at least for me, is an important prescriptive element of the paper…”

“Narendra Modi effect”: “Clutch of VC & PE funds” out to raise $2 billion | The Economic Times

More than half-a-dozen VC & PE Funds, are set to start the process to raise a combined $2 billion (about Rs 12,000 crore) from foreign and local investors, riding on the #BullishSentiment the change in Government has brought to the market…!!

At least FOUR established PE Funds have begun talks with investors while three have revived previously shelved plans, said people with knowledge of the matter and fund managers…

Arth Capital and Exponentia Capital are among the funds that have brought back plans that had been put on the back burner. ” We have a commitment of $150 million now and would raise up to $500 million for our infrastructure fund,” said a person with direct knowledge of the ICICI Venture fund’s plans.

ICICI Venture, India’s second largest PE fund, is betting on the infrastructure sector, which is high on the investment agenda of the Narendra Modi government to kick-start the economy…” There is a huge equity requirement for infrastructure projects,” this person said…!!

Narendra Modi Effect: clutch of PE funds out to raise $2 billion

Investor sentiment towards India had soured in recent years as economic growth slowed to less than 5% in fiscal 2013 and 2014 from over 8% in 2007. PE funds that have invested more than $50 billion in the past decade couldn’t exit their holdings as company valuations took a dive.

With returns from PEs drying up, limited partners (LPs), who commit money to these funds, stopped making new investments, delaying closure of new funds.

Though those concerns have now eased as the window for public offers opened again, industry experts say fund-raising will still be challenging for those who don’t have a good track record, quality and team continuity.

” VC & PE funds which demonstrate these parameters will have an edge over others,” said Vikram Utamsingh, managing director of transactions advisory group at Alvarez and Marsal. “LPs have been negative as the India story had been dampened for the past four years, but post national elections they are turning positive.”

According to him, investors are watching how the government will improve the investment climate. “There have been lots of enquiries from investors,” Utamsingh added..

Everstone, owned by former Mckinsey consultant Sameer Sain and partner Atul Kapur, is planning to raise around $750 million, its third fund. They have already made investments from two funds, focusing on companies in sectors such as consumption, infrastructure, real estate and financial services. Between 2006 and 2011, Everstone raised $975 million, closing the first fund of $425 million in September 2006 and second in May 2011 after raising $550 million. The last fund invested in 11 companies, including Hinduja LeylandBSE -1.51 % Finance, Burger King and Indostar Capital Finance, a non-bank finance company..

” We will raise the third fund by the end of the year only. It’s too early for us,” said a spokesperson. ” Typically, PEs raise funds once they have invested close to 80% of the money which is usually threefour years from the time they raise the fund,” said Utamsingh.

Some funds have received commitments from their main investors, or anchor investors. Multiples, owned by former ICICI Venture head Renuka Ramnath, has received a commitment from Canadian Pension Fund (CPF) for $100 million, as it plans to raise $500 million in its second fund. CPF had invested $80 million in the previous fund…!!

Exponentia Capital of PR Srinivasan, former head of Citigroup PE fund, has revived its plan to raise $250 million. “Fund-raising should accelerate as PE funds successfully exit from some of their investments in the past five years and return capital,” Srinivasan said…But some fund managers say fund closure will take longer…!!

” Though the stock markets have run up much faster, limited partners will take a longer time to react,” said Sumit Chandwani, managing partner of Arth Capital that has revived plans to raise $200 million…

“We could be closing the fund in the next 6-12 months,” said Chandwani, who had worked at ICICI Venture for 12 years before starting his own fund….!! 

“E-commerce Logistics firm “Delhivery” to raise up to Rs.175 crore”: “PE’s interest in Ancillary Service providers” | ET Retail

E-commerce Logistics services company ” Delhivery “ is in the final stages of negotiations to raise up to Rs 175 crore in fresh funding, a development that comes at a time when a number of India’s Top Private Equity funds are betting big on the country’s Digital-commerce sector….!!

The company has had discussions with a number of blue-chip private-equity firms, a list that also includes marquee growth-stage risk capital investor Warburg Pincus, and a deal is expected to be finalised by mid-June, according to sources with direct knowledge of the talks…

If successful, this will be Delhivery’s third round of equity funding….In September last year, it raised about Rs 35 crore from Nexus Venture Partners, having raised an undisclosed sum from Times Internet Ltd earlier in 2012….The existing venture capital backers are also expected to participate in the new round…

Warburg Pincus recently made the news when it led a Rs 550 crore round of funding in online and mobile classifieds company Quikr in March. Avendus Capital, a leading investment bank, has been given the mandate to structure the transaction. While Sahil Barua, co-founder of Delhivery, and Warburg Pincus refused to comment, emails sent to Avendus Capital did not elicit any response…!!

A potential transaction could value Delhivery at over Rs 500 crore. A number of India’s top private equity firms with a consumer #BusinessFocus but are yet to invest in E-commerce have highlighted their interest in investing in companies that provide services such as Payments, Logistics, #Reverse-Logistics, #Packaging and #SupplyChainManagement…

“We don’t have a preference for businesses that focus on core merchandising…We would rather look at Logistics and Payment-related businesses, which go right across the space,” said managing partner, Tata Capital Growth Fund (TCGF)…!!

The shift is largely driven by the relatively lower valuations and smaller amounts of capital required by #AncillaryServiceProviders, with average deal sizes of Rs 50 crore to Rs 150 crore…!!

“We will consider investments in E-commerce. We haven’t so far, because a number of those businesses are yet to mature to a point where we, as a late stage investor, are comfortable investing in them…

BillDesk, where we have invested, is a classic example of a company that has been a direct beneficiary of what’s happening in the broader consumer internet space,” said.. India head of global private equity firm TA Associates…!!

Expect “more Mid-Market Divestitures in 2014” : “Strategic-sales OR Acquisitions for growth-momentum” | Chief Executive

The report, conducted in late 2013 and the THIRD such endeavor by RBS Citizens, surveyed 460 Executives, ” who are open to OR currently engaged in some sort of corporate development activity, including Mergers, Acquisitions and Raising-capital…”

With a sense of stability returning to the economy middle market companies remain open to buying or selling but are prioritizing opportunities to Re-invest in their existing operations..

“ Our latest survey indicates that the appetite for acquisitions and sales remains strong, but businesses are taking a more strategic, less urgent approach, which reflects a strengthening economy,” said Bob Rubino, EVP and head of corporate banking and capital markets for RBS Citizens.

“As more Middle -Market companies see Top-line growth, Owners are looking for Strategic-Sales or Acquisitions that can augment their Re-investment Strategy and help keep their Growth momentum going ..”

These findings mirror other reports that suggest that critical sectors of the U.S. economy such as healthcare, retail food and energy will see continued or renewed M&A activity in 2014, according to business leaders at CIT Group. .

The middle market is ripe for a more fruitful M&A environment in 2014, according to Thomson Reuters LPC. The persistent fog of economic and political uncertainty that has stymied investment is lifting, giving way to improved visibility for lenders, borrowers and private equity sponsors alike.

Increased Economic confidence, more certainty with respect to Fed tapering, and fewer concerns about future government budget stalemates are paving the way for greater willingness to buy, sell and invest in middle market companies…

If in recent quarters companies were primarily focused on cost savings, they are shifting their attention to strategic growth opportunities. There is an abundance of capital – in the hands of both debt and equity investors – waiting on the sidelines, which will help buoy M&A activity…

Key findings from this year’s RBS Citizens survey include :

Sellers are more interested in selling part of their business than the whole.

While interest in raising capital remains steady, companies are less likely to take on debt and are more likely to accumulate earnings, sell a business unit or divest significant assets to make investments.

Executives believe both this year and next will be a ” Buyer’s market”..!!

Nine of Ten survey respondents intend to engage a ” Friend in the deal ” – an outside partner – to provide guidance throughout the M&A process ; half of all buyers and 40% of sellers are considering partnering with a commercial bank…!!

In late 2013, RBS Citizens conducted a survey of 460 U.S.-based middle market business executives that are open to or currently engaged in some form of corporate development activity, including mergers, acquisitions, and raising capital in the New England, Mid-Atlantic and Mid-West regions. For the purposes of this survey, middle market businesses have annual revenues of between $5 million and $2 billion.

The Sellers’ Perspective :

  • Based on this year’s survey results, the proportion of current and potential sellers in the market remains unchanged since 2012, but their motivations and intentions have shifted.
  • Although just 6% of middle market executives are currently involved in a sale, more than one-third indicate they would be open to a deal if approached by a buyer with a strategic fit.
  • While sellers were willing to ‘sell it all’ a year ago, a partial sale – selling an operating asset or division – has become more appealing than selling off the entire organization.
  • Being undervalued and underpaid by acquiring firms remains sellers’ primary concern; partial sellers are increasingly concerned about meeting post-acquisition revenue targets.

The Buyers’ Perspective :

While fewer acquisitions were in process at the end of 2013 than in the year before, deals this year are expected to be ” Larger and more Strategic” :

  • Less urgency in the market has translated into fewer current deals in process in early 2014 and more potential buyers are ‘on the sidelines’: open to but not actively seeking buying opportunities.
  • Buyers are less reliant on M&A as a means of growing; their goals are now more likely to be expanding geographic reach, increasing production and product capabilities and accelerating organic growth.
  • Respondents plan to make fewer purchases in 2014 but expect to spend more on each; the majority of executives anticipate spending between $10 million and $25 million.

Given the complexity of an M&A transaction, from ensuring proper valuation to identifying the best strategic buyers OR acquisition targets, the process has become more labour-intensive.

Most companies  without an “experienced Internal-Team” are “relying on an Outside Advisor”…!!

  • Of organizations who intend to engage external support for their deal-related corporate development needs, commercial banks are the most popular choice, followed by investment banks and business brokers.
  • Nearly half (47%) of respondents rate commercial banks as ‘excellent’ in regards to their corporate development capabilities, compared to 35% for investment banks and 26% for both private equity and venture capital firms.
  • Valuation, financing, opportunity assessment and due diligence are the areas where these companies are looking for the most help.