If the open offer to shareholders succeeds, Deepak Fertilisers will wrest control of the firm, which belongs to the debt-ridden UB Group and owns and operates urea and chemical plants at New Mangalore port in Karnataka.
Deepak Fertilisers and Saroj Poddar-led Zuari Fertilisers have been engaged in a tug-of-war for about a year for control of MCFL, which had sales of Rs 2,779.59 crore in 2012-13.
Deepak Fertilisers and Petrochemicals Corporation, the largest shareholder of MCFL, today bought 10,00,034 shares of the company at Rs 62.5 apiece on the BSE through subsidiary SCM Soilfert Ltd, according to stock market data.
After this transaction, its stake in MCFL has increased from 24.46 percent to more than 25 percent, the threshold for making an open offer in line with regulator SEBI's norms.
Earlier in the day, Deepak Fertilisers informed the BSE it had placed an order to buy up to 20 lakh shares, equivalent to a 1.7 percent of stake in MCFL, at Rs 63 a share. If the company is able to buy the entire 20 lakh shares, its stake in MCFL would rise to 26.1 percent.
Deepak Fertilisers on Wednesday also announced an open offer to acquire up to 3.08 crore MCFL shares, comprising 26 percent of the Mallya firm's equity, at Rs 61.75 a share, aggregating Rs 190.27 crore.
The promoter UB Group holds about 22 percent in MCFL. When contacted, a UB spokesperson said: "We will study the offer, review our options and respond accordingly."
MCFL shares ended the day 6.62 percent higher at Rs 66.05 on the BSE, retreating from gains of as much as 16.78 percent during the day to Rs 72.35. Shares of Deepak Fertilisers rose 4.07 percent to Rs 125.15 on the BSE.
JM Financial Institutional Securities Ltd will manage the open offer for Deepak Fertilisers, which is acquiring the MCFL shares along with SCM Soilfert. Last year, Zuari bought a 16.43 percent stake in MCFL and Deepak Fertilisers purchased 24.46 percent.
The three companies compete in the fertiliser business, but the huge debt burden of the Mallya-led group has led to speculation about MCFL being an apparent takeover target.
Any direct or indirect acquisition of shares amounting to a stake of 25 percent or more in a listed company triggers a mandatory open offer by the acquirer for additional shares.


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