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Anurag Behar

First Data Lenders OK to Refinance Loans

First Data Corporation announced that it has received affirmative responses from new and existing lenders to provide approximately $3.7 billion of term loans due March 2021. This transaction and the expected prepayments from the proceeds of First Data’s previously announced and priced offering of $900 million of its 5 percent Senior Secured Notes due 2024 allows First Data to refinance the remaining approximately $4.6 billion of its U.S. dollar denominated term loans due March 2018. The successful completion of this transaction is subject to market and other conditions. “This approximately $3.7 billion term loan transaction, coupled with the recent $900 million bond deal we priced, refinances the majority of our 2018 debt maturities,” said CFO Himanshu Patel. “First Data will continue to take advantage of opportunities to improve our capital structure as they arise.”

Education Startup Brings History’s Stories to Indian Teens

Reston, Va.-based Jano is an online history magazine targeted to Indian American teens. The magazine will provide teens an interactive, digital magazine focused on one high-interest topic. Every issue will offer age-appropriate content, archival photos, cartoons, videos, links to additional readings and primary sources. Further, teens may choose to do several activities that are offered and designed to cultivate both 21st century skills as well as historical habits of mind. "Jano promotes 21st century skills such as critical thinking, visual literacy, global awareness, effective writing, information analysis, deep knowledge and understanding of content and use of web 2.0 technologies. Additionally, students will develop historical study habits such as sourcing and contextualizing documents, close readings, evaluating data, and developing historical narratives," Jano founder Shefali Chandan said. It will begin publishing in May with subscriptions about $60 per year.

MedGenome Announces $10 Million Commitment to GenomeAsia

MedGenome, a genomic diagnostics and research services company, announced it would contribute $10 million to the GenomeAsia 100K consortium as a founding member. MedGenome operates one of the largest privately owned NGS labs in India. MedGenome's participation in GenomeAsia 100K will enable global research and scientific understanding by contributing towards building ethno-centric reference genomes for South Asia. It will assist with collection of genomic, clinical and familial data from the region. "We are excited to join GenomeAsia 100K that has a unique opportunity to make an impact not just to South Asians but to healthy living globally," said chief of global products and services Dr. Kartik Kumaramangalam. Added founder and CEO Sam Santhosh, "This is the only large population sequencing initiative that is a consortium of for-profit companies and academia. Combining academic rigor with the aggressive timelines and execution focus of for-profit companies will ensure the success of this consortium."

Napier Park Assists in Bluefin Payment Systems Growth Financing

Atlanta, Ga.-based Bluefin Payment Systems announced it has raised $6 million growth equity financing for the company. “We are very pleased to support Bluefin’s growth,” said finance partner Napier Park's managing director Manu S. Rana. “Data breaches impacting payment transactions show no signs of slowing down, particularly among retail, healthcare and education enterprises, and Bluefin’s security solutions are the future of safeguarding cardholder data.” Bluefin specializes in PCI-validated Point-to-Point Encryption for integrated and stand-alone solutions serving retail, mobile, call center and kiosk/unattended environments in the retail, healthcare and education industries.

Wipro Named as a 2016 World’s Most Ethical Company

Wipro Ltd., a global IT, consulting and business process services company, has been recognized by the Ethisphere Institute as a 2016 World's Most Ethical Company. The World's Most Ethical Companies designation recognizes organizations that have had a material impact on the way business is conducted by fostering a culture of ethics and transparency at every level of the company. It emphasizes Wipro's commitment to ethical leadership. It is the fifth consecutive year it earned the honor. "Doing business ethically is a matter of first principle for us," said chief sustainability officer Anurag Behar.

Panda Express to Launch in India

American Chinese fast food chain Panda Express is planning to enter India. According to newspaper reports, the chain is being brought to India by the JSM Group that also owns properties such as Hard Rock Cafe, Shiro and California Kitchen. Panda Express, which opened in 1983, serves, alongside dishes such as the Kung Pao chicken, popular entrees such as broccoli beef.

OPIC, Calvert Foundation to Finance Varthana

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation, a U.S. government development finance institution, Feb. 17 in Bangalore announced it and Calvert Foundation signed an agreement to finance Varthana, a lending institution that provides loans to affordable private schools in India. As part of this agreement, Calvert Foundation announced an initial $5 million loan to Varthana, of which OPIC is guaranteeing $3.125 million. The parties hope to expand this relationship as Varthana continues its rapid growth. The partnership between the three organizations was solidified with the signing of an agreement between Varthana CEO Steve Hardgrave, OPIC VP of small and medium enterprise finance James Polan, and Calvert VP of investments Catherine Godschalk. Varthana is an impact-minded lending institution that offers financing and support to schools throughout India, where low-income populations frequently lack access to reliable education. The schools Varthana supports are able to grow and extend quality, affordable education opportunities to hundreds of millions of school-aged Indians.

World Bank, GEF Launch Global Platform

City leaders from around the world met in Singapore for the launch of the "Global Platform for Sustainable Cities" which is part of an initiative funded by the Global Environment Facility that is expected to mobilize up to $1.5 billion over the next five years for urban sustainability programs in 11 developing countries, including India. The program, coordinated by the World Bank, is a knowledge sharing program that will provide access to cutting-edge tools and promote an integrated approach to sustainable urban planning and financing. It will work with a core group of 23 cities, but will reach many more by sharing of data, experiences, ideas and solutions to urban challenges, and by linking the knowledge to finance that will influence investment flows toward building cities’ long-term urban sustainability.

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