BSE's Rs1,500-cr IPO to open on 23 January

BSE, Asia's oldest stock exchange, will launch its much-awaited Rs1,500-crore initial public offer (IPO) on 23 January. The shares are likely to be listed on rival bourse National Stock Exchange (NSE) early next month.

The IPO will open on 23 January and close on 25 January, according to a red herring prospectus filed by the BSE with the Securities and Exchange Board of India.

More than 300 of the existing shareholders will sell 15.4 million shares through the offer-for-sale route, which work out to around 30 per cent of the total holding.

The shares are expected to be priced in the Rs800-850 band.

The existing shareholders of BSE include Bajaj Holdings Investment, Caldwell India Holdings, Acacia Banyan Partners, Singapore Exchange, the Mauritius-based arm of American investor George Soros' Quantum Fund and foreign fund Atticus.

There are around 9,000 shareholders in the BSE, where originally mostly brokers held shares. However, a host of foreign investors and domestic financial institutions have acquired shares over the years and the IPO will provide some of them an exit opportunity to monetise their assets.

The BSE - earlier known as the Bombay Stock Exchange - got in-principle approval from the market regulator last year for the IPO.

Shares of nearly 3,000 companies trade on this platform. Last month, Sebi had given its final approval to the BSE to launch its public issue.

Rival NSE also filed draft papers with Sebi last month for an estimated Rs10,000 crore IPO.

Sebi today notified rules allowing foreign investors to own up to 15 per cent stake in an exchange, a move that is expected to help attract more overseas funds.