Saturday, September 01, 2007

Grow up, Schwarzman

Stephen Schwarzman is a bad schmoozer. That’s a skill he’d rather have if Blackstone, the PE firm of which he is the CEO intends to do more deals in India. In particular, in sectors like media, telecom, real estate and energy where an FIPB approval is needed to relax statutory ceilings on PE investments.

Global private equity fund Blackstone’s proposed investment of $275 million (Rs 11.30 billion) in Ushodaya Enterprises, which runs the Telugu newspaper Eenadu and TV franchise, is stuck with the information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry seven months after the deal was announced.

This could mean trouble for the country’s largest private equity deal in the media space, which requires Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance.

Arun Sarin of Vodafone learnt it the hardway. Indian politicians and bureaucrats are not so lightweights in that they have a reputation for jamming many a smooth deal. Equally important it is for him to be less of a gas bag afterwards.
"Go, use the wisdom of Arun Sarin, Mr.Schwarzman..."

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