INDIA – Goldman Sachs is in advanced talks to invest US$350 million (Rs 2,700 crore) in API Holdings, the parent company of online pharmacy PharmEasy, in a structured debt transaction, Economic Times has reported.

The debt will have an interest rate of 14-15 percent and a pre-agreed equity upside, or a premium to the rate based on a potential increase in the company’s valuation.

The funds will primarily be used to repay the debt incurred by the company to fund its acquisition of diagnostics chain last year.

The company may raise another US$200 million after closing the deal with the US financial services company.

PharmEasy, India’s largest online pharmacy, planned to raise Rs 6,250 crore (US$804.4 million) through an initial public offering of shares, with Rs 1,929 crore (US$248.3 million) going toward debt repayment.

A portion of the debt is due in August 2022. Due to the current state of the market, the IPO plans have been put on hold.

PharmEasy was valued at US$5.6 billion when a clutch of global funds invested US$350 million in a pre-IPO round in October last year.

Singapore-based Amansa Capital, hedge fund ApaH Capital, OrbiMed, Steadview Capital and Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund ADQ were among PharmEasy’s new investors.

PharmEasy turned a unicorn in April 2021, when Prosus Ventures, TPG and others led a US$350 million Series-E round of funding at a valuation of US$1.5 billion.

The valuation increased to US$4 billion after it acquired a 66 percent stake in Thyrocare in June 2021.

With a 12 percent stake, Prosus Ventures (previously Naspers Ventures) is the startup’s largest shareholder.

Temasek, based in Singapore, owns 11% of the company, while TPG Growth owns 6.6 percent and Evermed Holdings owns 6%. Around 70% of the company is owned by 43 investors.

In the same space, Eight Roads Ventures India has announced the launch of its first dedicated healthtech and life sciences fund worth US$250 million.

The venture capital firm claimed that the fund was one of the largest for the sector in India, bringing the total amount managed by Eight Roads in India to US$1.6 billion.

The fund will be used by the company to make minority investments in 15 to 20 early-stage life sciences, healthtech, consumer health, and digital health startups.

Eight Roads will look to cut smaller checks as well as larger checks up to US$40 million. The venture capital firm already has a portfolio of 25 healthtech and life sciences companies.

These investments include the likes of IPO-bound PharmEasy, Cipla Health, Caplin Steriles, Immuneel Therapeutics, Plasmagen Biosciences, Doceree and toothsi.

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