GMR to sell 49% stake to France's Groupe ADP. Following Amazon, Flipkart challenges antitrust probe. Google removes over 600 apps from Play Store to counter mobile ad fraud.
Table of Contents
The RBI, in its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting held between February 4th-6th decided to maintain its accommodative stance and hold rates. While all six members voted in favour of maintaining the status quo due to rising inflationary rate and slow transmission of the already announced rate cuts, some members called for structural reforms and more stimuli in the economy as growth hasn’t revived with the cut in policy rate, showed the minutes of the meeting.
The MPC minutes quoted RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das as, “While the macroeconomy needs further monetary stimulus, the inflation outlook continues to be uncertain. The Union Budget has sought to provide counter-cyclical support to the economy while broadly adhering to fiscal prudence. Monetary transmission and bank credit flows have improved, but they need to become stronger.” [Indian Express]
Flow of Funds
The Centre has released ?19,950cr ($2,783m) to States as compensation for their revenue loss in the goods and services tax (GST) regime.
With this tranche, the Centre has released over ?1.20L cr ($10bn) towards GST compensation to the States/UTs during 2019-20. This is despite total collection of only ?78,874cr ($11,003m) till January 31, during current fiscal.
Timely payment of GST compensation to states has become a matter of conflict between Union and State governments especially following the economic slowdown. This has forced the authorities to take steps to prevent tax evasion and improve compliance. [Hindu BusinessLine]
Flipkart Cries Foul
Walmart-owned Flipkart has filed a legal challenge against an antitrust investigation ordered by the Competition Commission of India (CCI).
The move comes shortly after rival Amazon filed a similar petition.
The CCI in January had ordered a probe into alleged violations of competition law and certain discounting practices by the two e-commerce giants. However, a state court put the investigation on hold last week following a challenge by Amazon.
Flipkart in its filing said the CCI had "failed in its duty" to close the frivolous complaint and an investigation would harm the company's reputation, lead to significant managerial time loss and legal costs. [Firstpost]
As per sources, Flipkart is likely to launch its wholesale business in the upcoming quarter, in a bid to take on rivals such as Amazon’s B2B division, Reliance’s Market and Tencent-backed Udaan.
Flipkart has over the last few months ramped up its supply chain capabilities and engagements with manufacturers in the runup to the launch. The company is also running a pilot FMCG project supplying to kirana (corner) stores in the Delhi NCR region.
“Flipkart will focus on FMCG and fresh foods categories to begin with, and over time, build the electronics and fashion category,” the source added. [ET Tech]
India’s biggest private airport infra player, GMR Group, has signed an agreement with Groupe ADP of France to sell 49% stake in its airport-holding company for ?10,780cr ($1,503m).
Good to Know
GMR had in March last year, signed a definitive agreement with a Tata group-led consortium to sell 44% in the company. In January this year, it decided to divest a 49% stake. But despite getting clearance from the Competition Commission of India (CCI), the deal faced hurdles because it violated a clause that prevents airline groups from holding more than a 10% stake in Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL).
Tata Group holds a majority stake in Vistara and AirAsia India. GMR holds 64% stake in DIAL. [ToI]
Following the emergence of differences in individual calculations made by the government and telcos in the AGR dues, the government is now exploring the possibility of roping in third-party audit firms to reconcile dues payable by telecom operators.
For Some Perspective
According to government calculations, Vodafone Idea needs to pay ?50,000cr ($6,975m) as AGR dues, but the company believes its dues are half that amount. [Livemint]
Error 404: App Not found
Google has removed over 600 apps from its Google Play Store in a bid to crack down on mobile ad fraud.
“As part of our ongoing efforts - along with help from newly developed technologies - today we’re announcing nearly 600 apps have been removed from the Google Play Store and banned from our ad monetization platforms, Google AdMob and Google Ad Manager, for violating our disruptive ads policy and disallowed interstitial policy,” said Per Bjorke, Senior Product Manager, Ad Traffic Quality in a company blog post.
Google defines disruptive ads as ads that pop up on a user’s device in unexpected ways and hinder the overall user experience.
The removed apps had been installed more than 4.5 billion times and primarily targeted English-speaking users. The developers of these apps were mainly based in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and India, a BuzzFeed News report said. [NDTV]
As per multiple reports a new “anti-handbook” for Tesla employees has surfaced online - one that has its fair share of quirky rules and regulations. Here is a list of 16 rules that Tesla employees have to follow, including not being stupid. [Gadgets Now]
In the biggest takeover by a US Bank since the 2008 financial crisis, Wall Street giant Morgan Stanley on Thursday announced that it is buying online brokerage and digital bank, E-Trade in a $13bn deal.
The deal, if it goes through, will give Morgan Stanley a big share of the market for online trading, an additional 5.2m customer accounts and $360bn in assets.
It will also enable Morgan Stanley to tap into a new source of revenue - the smaller-volume trades of the country’s so-called mass affluent, people who are wealthy enough to have some savings but not rich enough to buy into hedge funds or seek out a money manager. [CNBC]
To Each His Own
Sprint and T-Mobile have agreed on new terms for their merger, following a ruling last week by a federal court.
As part of the new terms, T-Mobile's parent company, Deutsche Telekom will own 43% of the new company. Meanwhile, Softbank, which is the majority owner of Sprint, will own 24% of the new company, with the remaining 33% being held by public shareholders. [CNET]
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