Friday, March 28, 2008

Investment in India - Further Evidence of Liberalization

As further evidence of India's quick market liberalization pace for acquisitions and overall foreign investment - a point made in our India articles noted elsewhere in this blog - the March 28 edition of India's The Economic Times reported that foreign investors in Indian real estate may soon be allowed expanded exit opportunities.

Though up to a 100% foreign equity interest is currently permitted in real estate as well as hotels and tourism, foreign investors are now subject to a three-year lock-in during which the investor cannot sell the equity stake without the approval of India's Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). Indian authorities have proposed a waiver of this three-year lock-in as well as the lifting of a minimum investment requirement of US$5 million for joint ventures or $10 million for wholly-owned ventures.

Get ready to pick-up your dream apartment overlooking the ocean on Marine Drive in Mumbai along with that land for your manufacturing facilities.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Midddle Market Growth in Uncertain World Markets - A Fine Conference

I had the pleasure of co-chairing a fine international conference yesterday –sponsored by the Association for Corporate Growth’s Chicago chapter– a group that brings together our very active community of private equity firms, investment banks, accountants, lawyers and other dealmakers. Many in this 1,000-member organization share a growing passion for international opportunities, and about 200 proved to be active enough to register for our event.

The focus was on mid-market companies expanding internationally in uncertain times. The overall message from our several panels of speakers: yes, capital and debt markets in the coming months will present some major challenges, but expanding companies and dealmakers that are not relying on high levels of debt are likely to find an excellent hedge against the US economy in growth markets elsewhere (as well as from non-US investors attracted by a weak dollar and more reasonable US valuations). You all know the markets – whether India or other BRIC countries, Central Europe, Dubai, Vietnam and elsewhere.

Our feedback was strongly positive, fueled by an excellent keynote presentation by Robert Reich (who happens to have a great sense of humor, including on a personal level around the lunch table), a breakfast keynote moderated by Fortune Magazine’s Global Editor, Stephanie Mehta (a rising journalism star of South Asian decent who happens to be from Chicago), and 5 panels of speakers from companies such as Boeing, Abbott Laboratories, Zebra and Littlefuse, private equity firms such as The Jordan Company, Baird, 3i and Audax, investment banks such as Brown Gibbons Lang, consultants such as A. T. Kearney and Visthar and other publications such as Business Week.

Can you guess InternationalCounsel’s professional interest in contributing to such an event? Our longstanding focus has been on internationally-expanding mid-market companies attracted by our cost-effective international legal team model - just the sort of audience who found their way to the Sheraton for yesterday’s event.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Acquisitions of Indian Companies - Our Recent Article

Prior to my recent India trip, the General Counsel of a Chicago-area company and I published an article on acquisitions of Indian companies by US companies.

As part of our cross-border legal advisory services, we work with US companies investing and doing business in India (and also with Indian companies doing business in the US).

Here is a copy of the article, as a follow up to my February, 2007 update on foreign equity investment in Indian companies - published in the Association for Corporate Growth's Cross-Border Transactions Bulletin.

We are active with the international activities of this mid-market-focused dealmakers' association, and I am co-chairing our 2008 international conference on March 18. Click on the images below to enlarge.

Friday, March 07, 2008

India Updates

I have just returned from Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi (with stops in Pune and Mysore). We are seeing a good deal of acquisition and other activity with India. Stay tuned for updates.

The photo is of Marine Drive, Mumbai, otherwise known as the great city of Bombay - photo credit to Rakesh Krishna Kumar.