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Law firms bid to work on India’s LIC IPO as government sweetens terms

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MUMBAI – Four law firms, including two of India’s biggest, have bid to advise the state-run Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) on its mega stock offering, after New Delhi made the fee payment structure more attractive.LIC, a household name in India, is aiming to list by March in an initial public offering estimated at $12 billion, set to be the country’s biggest. But the government had struggled to attract law firms to advise on the sale, partly because they are stretched due to a corporate stock listing boom but also because of the low fees on government mandates, Reuters reported last week.After the law firms showed no interest, the government revised its offer twice this month, limiting the timeline of the LIC’s IPO work and offering a part payment during the IPO process, not just at the end.Now, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, India’s largest law firm, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas, Crawford Bayley and Link Legal have bid to work on the IPO and will make presentations to a government committee on Friday to qualify, a government notification said on Thursday.LIC’s IPO plans have attracted a lot of interest from investment bankers and the government has chosen 10 investment banks to work on it. The lawyers are key to the process as they work on everything from drafting the IPO papers to fielding regulators’ queries.India’s finance ministry did not respond to a request for comment.The financial bids from the law firms will be opened after they make their presentations on Friday. Typically, work for the government is allotted based on the lowest bid.LIC has a 66% market share of new premium collections in India’s crowded insurance market. It manages assets of more than $450 billion.(Reporting by Abhirup Roy; Editing by Aditya Kalra and Jane Merriman) ((abhirup.roy@thomsonreuters.com; + 91 22 6180 7067; Reuters Messaging: abhirup.roy.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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