In a first, an Indian corporate house, Indiabulls Housing Finance, is acquiring a large stake in a foreign bank. It is buying 39.8% in UK's OakNorth Bank for $100 million. OakNorth is a London lender that aims to challenge the dominance of large global majors like HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland in one of world's largest financial centres.
Sameer Ghelot, chairman, Indianbulls group, also plans to acquire a 10% stake in the same bank in his personal capacity at the same valuation. The deal is one among several Indo-British deals slotted to be signed on Thursday when PM Narendra Modi meets British PM David Cameron in London. In 2013, OakNorth Bank was set up by Rishi Khosla, a former adviser to India-born steel magnet Lakshmi Mittal. During its set-up phase, the bank had secured an investment from a former member of Bank of England's monetary policy committee. A former chairman of Financial Services Authority of the UK is on its board of directors.
Commenting on the deal, Gehlot said with this investment, Indiabulls group's total exposure in London would be in excess of Rs 4,200 crores. The group's real estate arm is redeveloping four projects in London with a total investment outlay of Rs 3,500 crore. For Indiabulls, the investment decision was led by K C Chakrabarty, a former deputy governor of RBI who is an independent director on the company's board now. .