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Rediff.com  » Business » Sahara set to buy out Siva from Aamby Valley

Sahara set to buy out Siva from Aamby Valley

February 05, 2010 03:15 IST

The Sahara Group is set to buy out C Sivasankaran, the billionaire serial investor, from its flagship project, Aamby Valley City, near Lonavala in Maharashtra.

The deal size could be in excess of Rs 2,000 crore, though this could not be verified. Sivasankaran had invested close to Rs 1,800 crore in 2007 to take a 41 per cent stake in Aamby Valley. The Sahara Group is the majority investor, with a 51 per cent stake.

The 53-year old Sivasankaran ('Siva'), who owns Sterling Infotech, had invested in Aamby Valley through his private investment arm, Siva Ventures. While Sahara Group sources confirmed Siva was looking to exit, a group spokesperson did not want to comment. Sivasankaran could not be contacted.

Aamby Valley, spread over 10,000 acres, is being developed as an upmarket hill township near Lonavala, a known hill station. Sahara plans to develop it as one of the "top five such townships in the world".  Many film stars, cricketers, businessmen and other celebrities own properties at Aamby Valley.

Sivasankaran had earlier purchased a 66 per cent stake in realty company DLF's Mumbai project for Rs 310 crore and had also bought 51 per cent in Stel, a Chennai-based telecom company.

Siva Ventures also has a 15 per cent stake in Sahara One Media and Entertainment, the entertainment arm of the Sahara Group. Sivasankaran had earlier sold his first telecom company, Aircel, to Malaysia's Maxis Communications to raise $1.8 billion. Sources said Siva Ventures also had a lease agreement for 171 timber chalets, each costing Rs 15 crore, in Aamby Valley on lease for 999 years. This is worth Rs 2,565 crore.

Sivasankaran is known for spotting business opportunities early and exiting them at high valuations. He also has interests in sectors such as telecom, shipping and logistics, media, renewable energy, infrastructure, township building, agriculture, food and wellness.

P B Jayakumar and Raghavendra Kamath in Mumbai
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