Premji Invest has a 16% stake in SBI General Insurance, which was acquired last year when Insurance Australia Group (IAG) offloaded a 26% holding in the insurer. Warburg Pincus picked up the remaining stake.
Merchant banker UBS has been running the process to find a buyer for Future Group’s stake, but with Generali now wanting to exit, there could be a full-blown acquisition, sources said. Premji Invest chief investment officer and managing partner T K Kurien, Generali Group, and Future Generali declined to comment when contacted by TOI. SBI General Insurance managing director Pushan Mahapatra also said he had no comments to offer.
The Kishore Biyani-promoted Future Group had held talks with Hero Corporate Services, and PE firms Multiples and True North to offload its holding in the insurance JV.
Future Generali was incorporated in 2007 to provide retail, commercial, personal and rural insurance. It has over 3,000 corporate customers and has assets under management (AUM) worth Rs 3,600 crore. Premji Invest, which manages over $2.5-billion investments across public and private markets, is making a bold bet in the insurance space at a time when there are some newer entrants making a foray into the regulated space.
If the deal goes through, sources said SBI might consider a merger with its own insurance arm. That could give a big fillip to Premji Invest, whose stake in SBI General Insurance could go up, sources said.
Earlier this year, Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal had acquired DHFL General Insurance from Wadhawan Global Capital (WGC) for Rs 100 crore. While in the previous year, Max sold its 51% stake in Max Bupa Health Insurance to private equity firm True North for over Rs 510 crore.