S Chand Looks to Turn a New Page with IPO
Co is already in talks with a number of India’s top merchant banks
New Delhi: Textbook-focused publishing firm S Chand and Company has begun discussions with a number of India’s top merchant banks, as it explores a potential initial public offering (IPO) later this year. Edelweiss, JM Financial and Axis Capital are amongst the multiple investment banks that have held discussions with the New Delhi-headquartered company, which also counts mid-market private equity firm Everstone Capital and International Finance Corp, the private sector investment arm of the World Bank, as investors.
“At this point, it is at an exploratory stage only. We are focused on growing the business, and our core season, which is December to April period, is currently under way. An IPO is just one of the options to raise capital,” said Himanshu Gupta, managing director, S Chand.
EYES ON GROWTH
The company, which recently closed a $27-million funding round in November last year, may also look to raise fresh capital of $40-$50 million from investors — new and existing — during the course of the year. Till date, it has raised about .₹ 370 crore in a mix of primary and secondary transactions. S Chand has also been making a slew of investments over the past 18-24 months, primarily in the digital and ed-tech and education services segments. The company, which has plans of investing about $100 million over the course of the next three to five years, is targeting 25% of its overall revenue to be derived from digital and services by 2020. “We are aggressively looking to meet that target, and have plans to continue investing. We have invested between $8 and $10 million over the last two years, and will continue to work at that pace,” Gupta said. In March, the company made two investments in the edtech space — FlipClass and online test prep startup Testbook.
An IPO by the one of the largest publishing companies in the country will be a closely watched affair, given that India has been one of the few stand-out markets in the otherwise moribund Asian region.
Last year saw 20 firms, a significant portion of which were backed by private equity investors, making their public market debuts, and raising more than .₹ 13,000 crore in the process, according to data collated by VCCEdge.