FM announces measures to provide relief amid the coronavirus outbreak. Infosys share price rises as SEC clears whistleblower case. WhatsApp working on new 'Search Messages' feature to fight fake news. Cure.fit raises ?832cr ($110m) in financing round led by Temasek.
Table of Contents
...Things Fall Apart
In the backdrop of the coronavirus outbreak, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in a press conference held today announced a slew of measures to provide relief amid the coronavirus outbreak. Here's a quick overview:
With the COVID-19 Outbreak, Governments Should Think Like Parents…
The COVID-19 pandemic has caught nations across the globe rather unprepared. It is forcing governments to revise precedents and get paternalistic (liberals won’t object, for a change).
With that in mind, here are six things the Government of India and the RBI can consider.
And Investors Should Think Like Lenders…
Equity markets have also witnessed a bloodbath in the past couple of weeks.
But as Professor Aswath Damodaran rightly puts it, "A market in crisis is a pricing game, driven by mood & momentum, not fundamentals." Here's a possible action framework in this time of crisis from the man himself.
Shares of Infosys today soared around 14% before closing at ?600 (+13.97%) as the US Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) concluded its investigation and gave the IT giant a clean chit in the whistleblower case.
In September last year, a whistleblower had alleged that the company's top officials, including CEO Salil Parekh and CFO Nilanjan Roy, were using questionable practices to boost the company’s revenue and profit. [Moneycontrol]
A Symbiotic Deal
Shares of Hindustan Unilever (HUL) and Glenmark rose 10% and 8.9% respectively as HUL announced the acquisition of female intimate hygiene wash brand VWash from Glenmark Pharmaceuticals for an undisclosed sum.
The deal would include an upfront cash payment and a deferred consideration over the next three years.
The acquisition of VWash would help HUL have a larger play in the chemist channels as it is already getting brands like Horlicks, Boost, Sensodyne and Crocin from the acquisition of GSK Consumer and Healthcare Business, HUL Chief Financial Officer Srinivas Phatak said. [ET Markets]
In "Search" of Truth
Facebook-owned messaging platform WhatsApp is reportedly working on new 'Search Messages' feature to check text authenticity, which would enable users search messages on the web directly from their app.
When a forwarded message is received by a user, the app displays a tiny search icon next to it. The user can then tap on the search icon and lookup on the Web - checking for its authenticity. [TechCrunch]
The digital drive in India has gotten an added push with the coronavirus outbreak as many resort to digital payments. Unfortunately, the increasing adoption of digital payment systems has also witnessed a rise in the cases of digital fraud. Here’s an easy primer on how you can avoid frauds. [Livemint]
Beginning of the End?
Two months after it was put on lockdown, Chinese authorities are reportedly considering easing restrictions in Hubei province and Wuhan, the city where COVID-19 first emerged.
Hubei authorities will end restrictions on outbound traffic on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Wuhan’s 11m residents will see restrictions begin to be eased from April 8th. [WSJ]
Ecommerce firms in India are facing severe disruptions affecting supply of goods as authorities crack down by closing warehouses and stores amidst lockdowns imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Flipkart and Amazon temporarily suspended logistics services for sellers across regions and over 25,000 supermarkets have reportedly been affected by orders to close warehouses.
The development comes despite the operations of ecommerce firms and their vendors being exempt from Section 144 restrictions as per a notification from the Consumer Affairs Ministry last week. [ET Tech]
Netflix has said it will lower its traffic on network providers by 25% in India for 30 days in order to reduce congestion on internet pipelines. It will still “maintain the quality” of its service, it added.
“Given the crisis, we’ve developed a way to reduce Netflix’s traffic on telecommunications networks by 25% while also maintaining the quality of our service. So consumers should continue to get the quality that comes with their plan – whether it’s Ultra-High, High or Standard Definition. We believe that this will provide significant relief to congested networks and will be deploying it in India for the next 30 days,” Ken Florance, VP Content Delivery of Netflix, said in a statement. [TechCrunch]
Educational technology companies are taking online education to the next level, as schools, colleges and coaching centres close down following the spread of the COVID-19 virus. As a result, a clutch of ed-tech players, such as UpGrad, Vedantu, CL Educate, Imarticus Learning, Simplilearn and Toppr, have seen a sharp rise in new users. Read this article for a deep-dive into the matter. [ET Tech]
We'll Do it All
Online grocery delivery startup BigBasket has acquired 100% stake in Bengaluru-based milk delivery app DailyNinja.
BigBasket has paid c. $15-20m for the acquisition, a person aware of the deal said.
The acquisiton is expected to help BigBasket’s milk delivery service - BB Daily - grow its daily business by 150-200% over the next 12 months. DailyNinja currently has around 110,000 customers transacting daily which will now help BB Daily augment its user base.
BigBasket had earlier acquired Pune-based RainCan and Bengaluru-based MorningCart for its morning delivery service, BBDaily. [ET Tech]
Fitness is a Lifestyle
Health and wellness startup Cure.fit has raised ?832cr ($110m) in the latest financing round led by Temasek. The round also saw participation from GableHorn Investments as well as from existing investors Accel Partners, Chiratae Ventures and the VC arm of consumer goods giant Unilever. [Tech in Asia]
Desperate Times, Desperate Measures
The Federal Reserve on Monday announced a series of measures to help markets function more efficiently amidst the coronavirus crisis.
Among the initiatives is a commitment to continue its asset purchasing program “in the amounts needed to support smooth market functioning and effective transmission of monetary policy to broader financial conditions and the economy.” Other measures include purchasing investment-grade securities and a lending programme for businesses. [The Washington Post]
Taken together, the Fed said the new programmes will provide up to $300bn in new financing to an economy getting crushed by the crippling health restrictions aimed at fighting the pandemic. The Fed is going all out to prevent the health crisis from turning into a full-blown financial crisis, and to avoid a recession. [CNN Business]
Fighting for Consensus
Meanwhile, the US Congress is hammering out a $2trn coronavirus aid package. The deal was blocked before it could advance for a full vote in the Senate as Democrats said the Bill didn’t do enough to protect American workers while Republicans criticised their colleagues across the aisle for being obstructionist and holding an important legislation hostage.
A deal, however, is expected to be reached soon and a vote could be held as early as tomorrow. [Time]
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