DHFL Bid: Adani likely to step up ₹33,000 crore

Billionaire Gautam Adani’s Group has reportedly signalled that it can step further upon its ₹33,000 crore takeover offer for collapsed housing lender Dewan Housing Finance Corp. Ltd (DHFL) and has sought seizure of deposits of bidders seeking to impair the proceedings of the auction by questioning maximum recovery of public money.

The initial bid by Adani group was only for DHFL’s wholesale and Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) portfolio, in the revised offer submitted on 17 November the bid was made for the entire book, quoting a figure of ₹30,000 crore plus interest of ₹3,000 crore, an official in lenders consortia said. This was ₹28,300 crore higher up the scale than the offer made by Oaktree, the official said adding the firm’s conditional bid had specified that it would hold back ₹1,000 crore on insurance claims. Piramal quoted ₹23,500 crore only for the retail portfolio of DHFL while Hong Kong-based SC Lowy bid ₹2,350 crore for SRA.

This was followed by rival bidders raising questions over Adani’s bid, saying the group had submitted the bid past the deadline and that it was not fair to seek expansion on its original plan. All the three rival bidders sought disqualification of Adani, the official said.

In the 22 November email, the Adani Group said it that the October bid was made focussing primarily on wholesale and SRA assets as it was hopeful that along with the Piramal Group, it would crack the deal (Piramal bid only for retail assets). But on the opening of bids on 9 November, Adani saw that bids put in by rivals did not reflect the value of the company and decided to bid for the entire book. Adani has said it has followed the pre-designed process and “no resolution applicant has any right to object”. Also, the Committee of Creditors (CoC) and the Administrator are duty-bound to take steps which result in value maximization.

The bid process rests power with the administrator/CoC “forfeiting the earnest money of such a resolution applicant” who has “directly or indirectly engaged in coercive practice and/or restrictive practice”. “We reiterate our intent has always been to provide an unconditional offer and potential value maximization for all the stakeholders and at the same time ensuring an expeditious consummation of the process,” Adani wrote. “We also stand committed to further improve our offer when revised offers are invited.”

A person involved in the proceedings said it appears the Administrator was not likely to entertain the Adani offer even though it appeared to be the highest bid.

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