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INDIA Hospitality Corp (IHC) is buying Mumbai’s Mars Restaurants from Malaysian private equity fund Navis Capital Partners. It also has the option to buy restaurant chain Nirula’s from Navis by the year-end. IHC is a special purpose acquisition corporation (SPAC) promoted by two US-based entrepreneurs, hospitality sector investment and research analyst Jason Ader and entrepreneur-designer Andrew Sasoon, to acquire Indian businesses or assets in the hospitality and related industries. IHC bought Mars and its sister airline catering company Sky Gourmet Catering for $110 million. Navis can also re-invest up to $75 million in IHC, which will take its stake in the company to approximately 20.7%. “This deal allows Navis to retain management control of the two companies and some shares of IHC,” said IHC India head Vivek Narayan.

Last year, Navis had bought Nirula’s and Mars from their respective promoters — the Nirula family and Sanjay Narang — in two separate transactions. The SPAC recently raised $100 million on London’s Alternate Investment Market (AIM) to invest in India’s restaurant business.

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