Government sets the ball rolling for LIC IPO

The government has kicked off the process to launch the initial public offer (IPO) of LIC. The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (Dipam), the nodal agency for conducting divestments, screened 11 companies to play the pre-IPO transaction advisor’s (TA’S) role for the proposed IPO. Citibank, CLSA, and Credit Suisse were among the foreign investment banks that applied for the role. Over half a dozen domestic firms, including Axis Capital, SBI Cards, and Edelweiss, are also in the fray. Deloitte India Touche Tohmatsu was the only non investment bank to apply. LIC’S IPO will be by far the biggest in the domestic capital markets. Industry players say many firms want to play the TA’S role. “LIC’S IPO will be a ‘trophy deal’ in the truest of sense. Any firm that is associated with the IPO will get bragging rights,” said an investment banker. Experts said the selection of the TA meant that the Centre was serious about launching the IPO before the end of this financial year. Given the complexities involved, many had expressed doubts whether the Centre would be able to launch the IPO before March 31.

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