Dec 31, 2021

CCI Approves Acquisition of 71.25% Shareholding of ASK Investment Managers Limited by BCP TopCo XII

On November 15, 2021, CCI approved the acquisition of 71.25% shareholding of ASK Investment Managers Limited (‘ASK’) by BCP TopCo XII Pte Limited, a newly incorporated company in Singapore that is controlled by the Blackstone Group (i.e., funds advised and/or managed by affiliates of Blackstone Inc.).[1] Blackstone Inc. is a global alternative asset manager and operates as an investment management firm.

ASK is an asset and wealth management company incorporated in India. Through its subsidiaries and associate companies, ASK is also engaged in provision of financial services in India, specifically, (i) portfolio management services; (ii) investment solutions, investment advisory services, and wealth management and wealth planning services (including digital services); (iii) sponsoring and managing alternate investment funds; (iv) sponsoring, setting up, or advising funds; (v) providing credit facilities; and (vi) distributing financial products (including insurance products and mutual funds). Blackstone Group (through its portfolio companies, Aadhar Housing Finance Limited (‘Aadhar’) and Fino Paytech Limited (‘Fino’)) is also present in the financial sector in India.

The parties identified the following overlaps in their business activities:

i.    Horizontal overlaps: (i) Market for the provision of loans and lending services in India, which was further segmented into provision of retail loans given that portfolio companies of Blackstone Group and ASK were present only in the segment in provision of retail loans. (ii) Market for the distribution of insurance products in India, based on presence of the parties, CCI also assessed the narrower sub-segment of distribution of life insurance products in India.

ii.   Vertical or complementary overlaps: ASK’s subsidiary, ASK Property Investment Advisors Private Limited, is engaged in investment advisory services and can offer guidance to consumers to invest in certain real estate projects. Aadhar is engaged in the provision of housing finance and could provide the necessary financing for acquiring such real assets. Accordingly, there was a notional overlap because the client profiles that these two parties focus on (high net worth clients and affordable housing accordingly) do not overlap.

CCI concluded that the parties to the transaction had negligible presence and market shares in the relevant markets where their activities overlap. CCI also noted that in the relevant markets, the parties compete with several other players. In the market for loans and lending services, parties compete with State Bank of India, Bank of India Limited, IDBI Bank Limited, Punjab National Bank Limited HDFC Bank Limited, ICICI Bank Limited, and Axis Bank Limited In the market for distribution of life insurance products, parties compete with Coverfox Insurance Broking Private Limited, BankBazaar and Renewbuy. In the market where the parties have a complementary overlap, the parties compete with HDFC Bank Limited, Kotak Mahindra Bank Limited, Motilal Oswal Real Estate, India Info Online Holdings Limited, and Axis Bank Limited.

Accordingly, CCI concluded that the acquisition was not likely to raise any competition concerns and approved the transaction.


[1] Combination Registration No. C-2021/10/877.




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