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Lockdown to slow stressed asset deals in India, says Vedanta’s M&A head

The world’s most expansive lockdown to contain the coronavirus could slow the pace of distressed dealmaking in India, according to the head of mergers and acquisitions at Vedanta Ltd.

“With the world slowly reopening for business now post the lockdown, the pace of deal making is likely to take a bit of a breather,” Aarti Raghavan said in an interview this month. “In the medium term, the rate at which demand picks back up again and returns to business as usual will determine the vivacity of M&A activity.”

India intends to suspend new bankruptcy filings for a year while it cushions its companies from the fallout of the pandemic, and the lockdown further imperils the sale of the nation’s flagship airline. Earlier this month, Vedanta’s founder Anil Agarwal announced a proposal to take the Mumbai-listed firm private by buying out the 49.9% stake he doesn’t own in the company from minority shareholders.

Raghavan, who spoke before the delisting plan was announced, has clocked about $11 billion of deals and fundraising in an 18-year career, and the 42-year-old former Citigroup Inc.

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