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Desai & Diwanji gets into Blackstone’s little black book with two deals of $370m

Private equity giant Blackstone has widened its circle of standing Indian advisers to include Desai & Diwanji on its latest investments in the power sector, having used Khaitan & Co on its previous two major deals. Luthra & Luthra advised its long-standing clients Moser Baer Projects in the $300m stake buy, and Clarus Law led for Monnet Power Company on Blackstone's $70m investment.

Simpson Thacher, which handles almost all of Blackstone's work as international counsel, is understood to have been led from Hong Kong by partner Kathryn Sudol and associate Ferish Patel.

Blackstone has announced that it would invest $3bn in India in the next five years in power, media and IT services companies.

Over the past year Blackstone has begun forging a relationship with Khaitan & Co on a $64m investment in a logistics company and the $51m investment in newspaper publisher Jagran Media.

Khaitan & Co is understood to still be acting for Blackstone on other transactions but that the private equity house has been looking to build up relationships with different law firms in India to avoid potentials for conflict. “They don’t want to put all their eggs in one basket,” said one person familiar with the PE firm.

The two mandates are Desai & Diwanji's first two instructions for the private equity house, having won the Monnet Power instruction several months ago.

Desai & Diwanji partners Vishwang Desai and Ashlesha Gowariker advised Blackstone, while Clarus Law partner Piyush Joshi acted for the target company.

The giant Moser Baer investment closed last month, which is a long-standing client of Luthra & Luthra senior partner Mohit Saraf. Saraf led for the company with senior associate Shishir Vayttaden and associates Vinay Kesari and Manish Gupta. Desai & Diwanji’s team was again led by partner Vishwang Desai with partner Toral Desai and associate partner Monika Deshmukh.

Saraf commented: "These are actually Greenfield power projects at the development stages and PE typically do not take a long term development risk. The transaction documents and mitigating the requirements of risk was really a very challenging job. The money was very important and Moser Baer does not have 100 years of power history."

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