Brookfield, Tata in talks to invest in India's Nexus Malls IPO - sources

By M. Sriram and Rama Venkat

BENGALURU (Reuters) -Brookfield Asset Management and Tata Group are in talks to invest in the upcoming initial public offering (IPO) for Nexus Malls, betting that the Indian real estate investment trust will benefit from a rise in the country's consumption levels, two sources told Reuters.

The IPO, the first-ever by an Indian retail REIT, comes at a time when volatile markets and global macroeconomic challenges have scuppered or delayed various listing plans in India.

Blackstone Inc-owned Nexus is seeking a valuation of about $3 billion and plans to raise about $390 million in the share sale, a newspaper advertisement showed on Wednesday.

Nexus Malls owns 17 commercial properties across 13 Indian cities. Apple Inc last month opened its second fully-owned store in India in a Nexus-owned shopping mall in New Delhi.

Indian conglomerate Tata Group is investing in the IPO via its unit Tata Investment Corporation , the sources, who did not want to be named because the discussions are private, said.

Other anchor investors include state-owned State Bank of India Life Insurance, SBI Mutual Fund, HDFC Life Insurance, HDFC Mutual Fund and Star Health Insurance, they added.

Apart from Canadian investment firm Brookfield, other foreign investors include U.S-based Jane Street and Asian fund Prusik Investment management, both the sources said.

Spokespersons for Nexus and Star Health declined to comment on the deal while others did not respond to queries seeking comment.

Nexus is betting on a "consumption mega trend" with malls recovering and growing reasonably fast post the pandemic-lockdowns, Nexus CEO Dalip Sehgal said at an IPO press conference in Mumbai on Wednesday.

Losses for the REIT narrowed to $1.34 million for the year ended March 31, 2022 from $24.45 million a year ago.

Axis Capital, IIFL Securities, BofA Securities India were among the book running lead managers to the IPO.

Nexus Malls is set to start trading on the stock exchanges on May 19.

($1 = 81.8150 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Editing by Janane Venkatraman, Sonia Cheema and Nivedita Bhattacharjee)