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Amarchand-Trilegal start-up iCounsel advises German-Kochi takeover with JSA, DLA Piper


A law firm started seven months ago by a Kerala advocate and two ex-senior associates from Amarchand Mangaldas and Trilegal, have acted opposite J Sagar Associates (JSA) and DLA Piper to advise on the takeover of a Kerala-based vocational training company by a German services giant.

Cologne-headquartered TÜV Rheinland, which provides technical, safety, certification and training services and has a global turnover of €1.531 bn in 65 countries with 17,000 staff, according to DealCurry, bought Kochi-headquartered vocational training institute NIFE India, which has 40 direct training centres and 28 franchise centres across India.

iCounsel lead consultant Krishnan Murali advised NIFE, while J Sagar Associates (JSA) Bangalore partner Murali Ananthasivan and DLA India partner Benjamin Parameswaran, based in Hamburg and Cologne, acted for TÜV.


iCounsel was set up in July 2013 in Kochi, with offices in Bangalore and Delhi, by three co-founders: Advocate NA Muraleedharan, who has been practising for nearly 50 years in the Kerala high court, is heading up the Kochi office; former Trilegal senior associate and Amarchand associate Krishnan Murali is based in Bangalore; and former Amarchand senior associate Parul Sabharwal is based in Delhi.

Murali and Sabharwal both co-head the M&A and corporate practice of the firm. Including the founders, the firm was around seven lawyers in size but was fast “expanding in size”, said a spokesperson. Murali had begun his career at Kochhar & Co in 2006 after an LLB from the Kerala Law Academy, joining Amarchand in 2008 after a stint at PwC.

Sabharwal joined Amarchand in 2005 after a Delhi University Law degree and an LLM from the London School of Economics.

SBI Capital Markets was the lead financial adviser on the transaction. The deal value was not reported.

iCounsel had previously also represented the promoters of Stove Kraft in a Series B funding from Sequoia and acted for DB Corp Mumbai on “several of their acquisitions in the print media space”, said a spokesperson for the firm.

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