India’s Tata Capital eyes fashion brand Rare Rabbit at $300 million valuation -sources

By M. Sriram

MUMBAI (Reuters) – India’s Tata Capital is looking to purchase a roughly 13% stake in premium domestic fashion brand Rare Rabbit at a valuation of $300 million, as it seeks to bet on the country’s affluent shoppers, three sources familiar with the matter said.

Tata Capital is the financial services arm of India’s $144 billion salt-to-aviation Tata conglomerate, and its investment interest in Rare Rabbit comes at a time its rivals such as billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance are also gravitating towards premium fashion offerings.

The three sources said Tata has held talks with Rare Rabbit and is conducting due diligence after issuing a term sheet to invest up to $40 million to grab a stake in the niche fashion brand that sells men’s shirts and other apparel.

Rare Rabbit founder Manish Poddar and Tata Capital declined to comment.

The sources declined to be named as the talks are private.

Rare Rabbit was started in 2015 by an Indian family-run company Radhamani Textiles, and sells shirts, jeans, jackets and sneakers that are priced as low as $20 and all the way up to the high-end range for most Indians at $80. The company sells its products online and has 90 retail outlets across India.

India’s fashion and clothing sector has drawn big Indian and foreign brands in recent years from Tommy Hilfiger to Japan’s Uniqlo. Retailers such as Reliance and Tata Group also run their retail chains targeting the booming middle-class segment by selling mid-range clothing from their outlets across the nation.

The ongoing stake sale talks are Rare Rabbit’s first external fundraising exercise.

Local Indian private equity fund A91 Partners is also eyeing a stake in the company and competing with Tata for a deal, the three sources said. A91 declined to comment.

(Reporting by M. Sriram; Editing by Aditya Kalra; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)