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Report: Apollo-backed private equity firm eyes stake in Catholic Syrian Bank

An Apollo Global Management LLC-backed private equity firm is interested in buying a stake in India's Catholic Syrian Bank Ltd., a move that could pit the firm against Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd., which is seeking to acquire a 51% stake in the bank, Bloomberg News reported May 30, citing "people familiar with the matter."

Aion Capital Partners, which is backed by Apollo Global, is just one of the parties interested in acquiring a stake in the Indian bank. Everstone Capital has also approached the bank's board for a possible deal, the people said. Everstone Capital reportedly wants to merge its own finance company, IndoStar Capital Finance Ltd., with Catholic Syrian Bank.

In late 2016, Fairfax Financial obtained approval from the Indian central bank for a possible deal. The Canadian firm will enter into negotiations with Catholic Syrian Bank this week about acquiring the 51% stake, the people said.

The bank will reportedly start discussions based on an external valuation report that puts the bank's worth at about 165 Indian rupees per share to 200 rupees per share with a premium of at least 15%. A recent 4% stake purchase by an investor at 160 rupees per share valued the bank at about 12.96 billion rupees, according to data from Bloomberg.

Aion Capital and Everstone Capital have not started negotiations with the bank and interested buyers will need approval from the central bank for a deal.

Representatives for Aion Capital, Everstone Capital, Fairfax Financial and Catholic Syrian Bank declined to comment, Bloomberg reported.

As of May 29, US$1 was equivalent to 64.54 Indian rupees.