Amazon’s India partner Samara Capital plans $500 mn fund: Report

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Samara Capital, an India-focused private equity firm and a local partner of Inc., is planning to raise as much as $500 million for a new fund targeting in Asia’s third-biggest economy.

The Mumbai-based company is looking to invest in businesses ranging from retail and health care to technology and finance, and plans to close the fund in the second half of 2022, Sumeet Narang, Samara’s founder and managing director, said in an interview.

“We have started the roadshows and many of our existing investors across the U.S., Europe, Middle East and Asia Pacific have already signed up,” Narang said.

Samara is seeking to step up investments in a consumer market of a billion-plus people. Almost 120 companies, including online grocers to food delivery and beauty startups, raised about $18 billion in initial public offerings last year, a record for the country.

Founded in 2007, the firm has invested more than $1 billion since inception, according to its website. The new fund will consider investing $50 million to as high as $400 million in mid-market for a controlling stake, Narang said.

Samara and Amazon are partners in Witzig Advisory Services Pvt., an investment vehicle that acquired More Retail Pvt. in 2019 from billionaire Kumar Mangalam Birla’s conglomerate Aditya Birla Group. More Retail is weighing an IPO that could raise as much as $500 million at a valuation of $5 billion, Bloomberg reported in December.

Deals involving private equity firms have been rising in India as highly indebted conglomerates look to sell businesses to help pay debt, while succession planning prompts some tycoons to dispose of assets and set up family offices. Easy loans are also helping PEs to finance buyouts.

Carlyle Group Inc.’s Asia chairman X.D. Yang said in November that the U.S.-based PE’s investment amount and pace in India are getting “pretty close” to that in China.

Last year, Samara listed quick service restaurant operator Sapphire Foods India Ltd. — a local franchisee for Pizza Hut and KFC.

“We will have 10 active portfolio companies,” Narang said. “Every year we invest in two to three and exit the same number.”

(With assistance from David Morris.)

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