MUMBAI: Veteran dealmaker Udayan Bose, who brought modern investment banking and venture capital to India in the ’80s and set up the second private Indian mutual fund, passed away on Friday. Bose (71) was suffering from heart and kidney-related issues.
Bose straddled the world of pinstriped bankers of London’s Lombard Street and the earthy stock markets of Mumbai and Kolkata. He threw away an opportunity to head Deutsche Bank’s Australia operations to turn entrepreneur by acquiring a vintage broking firm, which then he used to partner Lazard (a global investment bank) and create India’s first multinational investment bank.
A young achiever from Kolkata’s Presidency College, Bose started his career with Grindlays Bank where he rose to be a director of Asia-Pacific before moving on to European Asian Bank (which became Deutsche Bank). As a merchant banker (as investment bankers were known then), he helped movers and shakers of the ’80s and ’90s strike deals, like R P Goenka’s acquisition of HMV.
Uday Kotak, who has been part of the city’s capital market scene from the ’80s, says he has great memories of Bose. “I met him in the European Asian Bank, which later became Deutsche Bank. After Deutsche, he bought over a broking firm — Merwanji Bomanji and Dalal — and partnered with Lazard. An original merchant banker, and a professional-turnedentrepreneur… Time flies. Will miss him,” said Kotak.
Ravi Rangachari, former director (finance & corporate affairs) at Lazard India, said, “Bose was ahead of his time… he had great vision.” Another one of Bose’s Indian ventures was the British Tech Group, which pioneered the concept of licensing and adoption of foreign technologies for Indian companies.
In 1984, after he was appointed head of Deutsche Bank’s operations in Australia, he was swept by a “feeling of belonging to the soil” and gave up the prestigious assignment and decided to start investment bank Credit Capital in India. His connections and knowledge brought him several board positions, prominent among them being the chairmanship of travel firm Thomas Cook.
Other companies where he was on the board included HMV, Reliance Capital, and JK Paper. A big believer in the India story, Bose took over as chairman of the Kolkata Stock Exchange in the hope of modernising it and bringing foreign investors.
An anglicised banker with a baritone, Bose would at times appear incongruous among desi stockbrokers, whether in Mumbai or Kolkata. But deep inside, he still had middle-class family values. Once when talking to a reporter on a major assignment that he was taking, he requested that his picture be carried in the Kolkata edition as that would make his mother happy. An epicure, he enjoyed cooking for, and feeding, people. And he loved a good adda.