In September 2019, the co-founder of India’s star e-commerce, Sachin Bansal, was not the first suitor of an insurance business that was on the block. Beleaguered home finance company DHFL’s parent WGC was selling its stake in its general insurance unit to bring down its liabilities and wanted to exit quickly. Another tech entrepreneur, Paytm’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma, was already at the door offering more money, but wouldn’t sign the dotted line until December.
But WGC could not wait and decided to exclusively deal with Bansal as he seemed a surer suitor. The due diligence prolonged and it was not until January that the deal was done for Rs 220 crore (most papers reported the deal was worth only Rs 100 crore). At the last minute, there was a serious hitch.
Authorities at the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India realized that Bansal’s company Navi Technologies could not be cleared “fit-and-proper” as its earlier application to be a non-banking