The big funding deals are back in the news. And this time, it’s the VC darlings that are in the market to raise more money. Ola is in advanced talks to raise $500 million as Uber sharpens its focus on India (it’s setting up its largest office outside the US in Hyderabad) and as Ola itself branches out into food and grocery delivery. Ola’s post-money valuation will be about $5 billion. Flipkart, the other startup posterboy, has raised $700 million at a $15 billion valuation as competitor Amazon boosted its war chest to $5 billion. Pepperfry, the online furniture marketplace, has raised $100 million, to increase its mobile presence, as all online marketplaces are doing. Well, ache din (good days) are here, for some startups at least!
The crack-down on participatory notes has sent shivers down the stock market. A Supreme Court special investigative team tasked with looking into the use of P-notes in money laundering, asked the stock regulator to tighten rules on their trading. P-notes are derivative instruments used for short-term trades in the stock market and a favorite of foreign investors, but are also hard to keep track of and hence could be used to launder money. They form a huge part of foreign fund activities, so anything that hampers their trading will hurt market sentiment. However, these are early days and most investors will wait to see what SEBI does. But that and the slump in the Chinese markets have managed to take the sheen out of local stocks as well.
It’s not just the startups that are making deal news. Rajesh Exports, a gold and diamond jewellery maker and exporter has just spent $400 million on a Swiss refiner, Valcambi SA, to expand its global footprint. Valcambi’s refinery is accredited by the London Bullion Market Association and its gold bars are accepted across all official commodity. Also, Indians are the biggest consumers of gold so any investment in the gold business will also pay off locally.
“If you want to shine like a sun, first burn like a sun,” Former Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam
Airtel has been slowly scaling back on its Africa business. Last year, it sold most of its towers, acquired with Zain Telecom in 2010, and it’s now in talks with Orange to sell four of its units. That naturally has also reduced the headcount. Twenty of its senior level executives have left or will be soon leaving the company, though many of them will likely return to the India office. The Africa business has been a drag on Airtel’s books for the past few years, and this scale-back may reduce the impact.
The government’s offer for sale of 5 percent stake in Power Finance Corp, a lender to power companies, has received an enthusiastic response –more than twice the bids for the sales on offer, earning it close to 16 billion rupees. The government earned 15.5 billion in April by selling some stake in REC. It has a target of 695 billion rupees through stake sales this year.
The joint parliamentary panel looking into the land bill may ask for an extension for submitting its report, squeezing the time available for lawmakers to debate the bill before the current session ends on Aug. 13.
Former Indian president and architect of the nation’s nuclear policyAPJ Abdul Kalam died yesterday as he suffered a heart attack, doing what he loved best — addressing students at an institute in Shillong in north-eastern India. RIP.
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