Date of birth:
13 July 1970
The name of the law school from which you received your first law degree:
South Kolkata Law College, University of Calcutta
Current law firm and office:
Khaitan & Co, Mumbai
Position within the firm:
Details of any past law firms that you have worked for:
I have been with Khaitan & Co since the time I graduated from law school. I spent my initial years in Kolkata, and moved to Mumbai in the end of 2001 to start the Mumbai office.
The Mumbai office was started by three lawyers (including me) in December 2001, and now has over 180 lawyers.
Key practice areas:
Mergers & Acquisitions, Private Equity, Project Finance, General Corporate and Commercial Advisory
Why you chose to focus in these areas:
I started my career in the Litigation Department of Khaitan & Co’s Kolkata office. This was at a time when the Indian economy was opening up.
As time progressed after liberalisation of the Indian economy, we saw a flurry of investment activity (especially project finance and joint ventures). This work really excited me and, in the next few years, I found myself amid some of the most complex and innovative transactions, including several large M&A and private equity transactions.
Details of the matter that you have worked on in your career to date that you are most proud of, and why:
I have been fortunate to be part of some of the most complex transactions in the country. Two transactions that immediately come to mind are:
We acted for Hutchinson Telecommunications lnternational Limited in the sale of its stake in Hutch – Essar to Vodafone, plc. This was one of the largest M&A transactions with a deal size of approximately $11.1 billion. Apart from the deal size, it was a difficult transaction to structure around various call and put option issues. Post sale, of course, this transaction led the debate (and some consequent unfortunate changes) to the Indian tax laws on indirect sale transactions.
We acted for iGATE Corporation (which was backed by Apax Partners) on its acquisition of Patni Computer Systems Limited, in a deal worth approximately $1.25 billion. Again this involved three sets of sellers, a private equity firm (General Atlantic) that wanted to exit a portfolio it had been invested in for over eight years, and two groups of brothers – one which wanted to sell out, and other which started this company and was unwilling to let go of the company (and, therefore, non-compete issues). The auction process and the media’s close watch on this transaction compounded the problem.
Apart from these, there are several other transactions I am very proud of. In particular transactions like sale of controlling interest in listed Andhra Pradesh Paper Mills Ltd by sponsors to International Paper, where our role was not limited to legal advisers but giving business advice.
The name of any more senior lawyers that you look up to or consider to be mentors:
I have always admired my grandfather the late Mr B P Khaitan. He was one of the most illustrious lawyers and business advisers of his time and I was extremely fortunate to have learnt from him.
I continue to look up to and learn from several senior lawyers, including Mr Pradip Khaitan and Mr Ravi Kulkarni.