Lenders of Jet Offer Bidders 31.2%-75% in the Airline, US Considers Imposing Tariffs on EU, FB to Activate Fact-Checking Centres Ahead of Elections et al.

Lenders of Jet offer bidders 31.2%-75% in the airline. No expression of interest received on day one. Potential bidders include TPG Capital, Etihad, NIIF. Oil hits five-month high above $71 a barrel. US considers imposing tariffs on $11bn of EU goods. Facebook to activate fact-checking centres ahead of General Elections. SC dismisses plea for framing of laws against fake news. 

 

Moving on to the top Business stories of the day. 

 

CONSUMER 

Sale of scooters slip for the first time in 13 years. Dangal de-thrones Sun TV to emerge as India's most-viewed channel.
 

Love Lost: Sale of scooters slipped for the first time in 13 years at 67 lakh units in 2018-19, down 0.27% from 67.2 lakh units in the previous year. 
 

Fun Fact: Scooters account for nearly one-third of total two-wheelers sold.
 

Failing Behind: Despite new product launches, passenger vehicles (PV) too grew at the slowest pace in the last five years. So much so that the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam) was prompted to lower the sales forecast for PVs from the earlier estimate of 8-10% to 6% in second half of the last fiscal. The final figure of 2.7% is even lower. 
 

Jobs strain and growing pains in rural and semi-urban India are believed to be the primary factors impacting sales.
 

Dangal De-Thrones Sun TV: Dangal, a free-to-air Hindi general entertainment channel, has dethroned Sun TV to emerge as the most-viewed in week 15 (March 23 to March 29) of 2019 with a weekly viewership of 1.1 billion impressions, as per a data by Broadcast Audience Research Council of India (BARC).
 

All For Free: A large part of the reason behind Dangal’s rise to number one is its availability on DD Free Dish. Another factor has been the withdrawal of multiple private free-to-air (FTA) channels such as Zee Anmol, Rishtey, Rishtey Cineplex, Star Utsav, Sony Wah, and Star Utsav Movies withdrew from Free Dish on March 1 following the implementation of the new TRAI tariff order.

 

JET 

Lenders of Jet offer bidders 31.2%-75% in the airline. No expression of interest received on day one. Potential bidders include TPG Capital, Etihad, NIIF. IndiGo announces expansion of its international network from Mumbai, launches additional domestic destinations.
 

Min-Max: According to the Expression of Interest (EoI) document issued on Monday, an acquirer of Jet Airways will have to take at least 35.4 million shares equalling 31.2% stake in the airline. These represent shares pledged by the airline's promoter and former chairman Naresh Goyal. The acquirer can take a maximum of 85.1 million shares equal to 75% control. 
 

Swipe Left: However, the debt-ridden airline received no EoI on the first day.  
 

Potential Bidders: 24% stakeholder in Jet, Etihad Airways is evaluating its options to participate in a pre-bid process for the beleaguered airline. 
 

Other potential bidders include San Francisco-based private equity investment firm TPG Capital and Atlanta-based airline Delta. A consortium arrangement between Delta and TPG may also be on the cards. 
 

National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), India’s first sovereign wealth fund, is yet another entity which could possibly invest in Jet. 
 

Make Hay While the Sun Shines: IndiGo has announced expansion of its international network from Mumbai, besides launching additional domestic destinations in order to cater to the demand following withdrawal of several routes by Jet Airways.
 

The move comes shortly after aviation regulator, DGCA, began reallocating flight slots of Jet Airways that were left unused as a result of the grounding of 75% of its fleet.
 

Going Places: The three new overseas services include daily non-stop flights to Jeddah and Dammam and Abu Dhabi, while the domestic services will be launched to cities such as Indore, Kochi and Patna among others.

 

GLOBAL 

Oil hits five-month high above $71 a barrel. US considers imposing tariffs on $11bn of EU Goods.

Rising High: Oil hit a five-month high above $71 a barrel on Tuesday, on back of concerns that violence in Libya could further tighten supply already squeezed by OPEC cuts and US sanctions on Iran and Venezuela.
 

Brent, the global benchmark, rose to $71.34 a barrel, the highest since November.
 

Libya, an OPEC member pumps around 1.1 million bpd, just over 1% of global oil output.
 

Next in Line: The US is considering imposing tariffs on about $11bn worth of goods from the European Union in response to subsidies that support Airbus, and have adverse effects on the US. 
 

Aircraft and cheese are among the products that could be hit by the tariffs.
 

Backstory: Last year, the US started charging levies on the imports of steel and aluminium from key allies including the EU.
 

In response, the EU imposed retaliatory tariffs on €2.8bn (£2.4bn) worth of US goods in June on products such as bourbon whiskey, motorcycles and orange juice.
 

Read more on the matter here.

 

BANKING 

Indiabulls bid for Lakshmi Vilas Bank is a bid for a banking licence, which now awaits RBI approval. 
 

Deal for a Deal: The Board of Lakshmi Vilas Bank (LVB) on Friday approved its merger with Indiabulls Housing Finance (IBH) in a share swap deal. Interestingly, Indiabulls isn’t really buying out LVB, it is making a bid for a banking licence.
 

Roadblock: The deal now awaits RBI’s approval. However, the LVB-IBH deal might be looking at some regulatory roadblocks. Read what do the regulations say here.
 

An Expensive Bet: A merger of a weak bank and a non-banking financial company (NBFC) would typically mean a big win for the latter. A bank licence guarantees the NBFC access to low-cost public deposits; for the weak bank, it would mean securing capital crucial to stay afloat. While this may seem like a win-win for all, Indiabulls’ stiff price for Lakshmi Vilas Bank may take time to pay off. Know why here.

 

FAKENEWS 
 
Facebook to activate fact-checking centres ahead of General Elections. SC dismisses plea for framing of laws against fake news. 
 

Up in Arms: In an attempt to curb fake news ahead of the General Elections, Facebook has created a team of engineers, operations specialists and data scientists which will work with its team in India to check false news, misinformation, hate speech and voter suppression.
 

To strengthen its fact-checking efforts, the social media giant has added seven third-party fact-checkers to its team in India covering eight of the most spoken languages — English, Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam and Gujarati. 
 

There is More: Facebook has joined other social media companies to come out with a voluntary code of ethics for the elections in partnership with the Election Commission of India. It includes measures like a dedicated communications channel for notice and takedown after receiving valid legal order, processing of valid requests during the blackout period ahead of voting and voter education efforts.
 

It has also launched products like ‘Candidate Connect’, which provides voters accurate information and help people learn more about candidates, and ‘Share You Voted’ that allows people to share post with friends that they cast their ballot in the Lok Sabha elections.

Rejected: The Supreme Court has refused a plea which sought directions to the Ministries of Home Affairs, Law, Information and Broadcasting and Electronics and Information Technology to constitute a committee for tackling fake news on various social media handles.

Also This: SC also refused an urgent listing of a plea challenging the recent Madras High Court order directing the Centre to ban the TikTok app over concerns about access to pornographic content through it, asserting that the plea will come up for hearing in due course of time.

 

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