India and US fail to ink a trade deal. RBI places multiple restrictions on PMC Bank, customers left agitated. Rivigo becomes eighth unicorn startup in India in 2019. WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann steps down. Impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump announced.
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Recap: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) yesterday placed multiple restrictions on Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative Bank Ltd (PMC Bank), a leading co-operative bank headquartered in Mumbai, on the back of rising defaults in the last six months.
As per the directive, PMC Bank cannot grant or renew any loans and advances, make any investment, and incur any liability, including borrowing funds and accepting fresh deposits. Besides this, the RBI has capped withdrawals at INR1,000 per customer for the six-month period.
PMC Bank has over 37 branches spread over seven states including Delhi and Punjab and deposits worth INR11,617cr.
The move has left PMC’s many customers panic-stricken and agitated, some of whom had parked their lifetime savings in the bank as it “offered higher fixed deposit rates than mainstream banks, and better customer service.” The Hindu BusinessLine
This Too Shall Pass: The Central Bank, however, has said that the issue of the directions should not be construed as a cancellation of the banking licence.
Meanwhile, amidst all the chaos, MD Joy Thomas assured the depositors that these irregularities will be rectified before the expiry of six months. The Wire
Houston, We Have A Problem: India and the US failed to announce any trade deal during the late Tuesday meeting between Prime Minister Modi and President Trump in New York. Trump had previously expressed hope to reporters that both sides would “very soon” conclude a limited trade pact ahead of a comprehensive free trade agreement to be signed later. During the meeting itself, while Trump hailed his relationship with Modi and the two countries’ ties, a deal was not unveiled. Moneycontrol
In a New York Minute: Commerce minister Piyush Goyal, who was in New York for the talks, said that though a deal could not be reached, discussions would continue and that both leaders were optimistic about “reaching some kind of a trade agreement in near future”. Livemint
One More Unicorn: The list of startups that became unicorns in 2019 has its eighth entrant with Rivigo raising $4.9mn from South Korean fund KB Platform Fund. It is now valued at $1.05bn, up from $950mn in February last year. Rivigo is a platform that enables truck drivers to hand over the vehicle to other drivers at designated pit stops so that the truck is not idle at any point during the journey and the drivers aren’t behind the wheel for hours on end without sleep. Livemint
So Much SaaS: Hyderabad-based SaaS startup Darwinbox has raised $15mn in a boost to its attempts to expand its business overseas. The company operates a cloud-based human resource management platform. The Series B round – which was led by Sequoia India – moves Darwinbox’s total raise to 19.7mn.
That’s A Sixer: Facebook has reportedly finalised a four-year deal with the International Cricket Council (ICC) to secure exclusive digital content rights for global ICC events in the Indian subcontinent. While this won’t include live-streaming matches, the social media giant will show post-match recaps and in-play key moments and other “feature content”. Official Media Release
This isn’t the first time Facebook has tried to tap onto South Asia’s cricket frenzy. In 2017, it bid $600mn for online streaming rights of the Indian Premier League for five years but it lost the bid to Star India (which operates Hotstar). TechCrunch
Adios, Neumann: Adam Neumann, WeWork’s co-founder and CEO, has stepped down from his role and will serve as non-executive chairman of the Board. It was recently reported that some members of the Board and big investors – including SoftBank – were pressurising Neumann to step aside in order to salvage the company’s long-delayed IPO. Neumann’s ouster is strikingly similar to that of former Uber executive Travis Kalanick who had also been asked to step aside by frustrated Board members before the company’s IPO. TechCrunch
Pelosi vs Trump: Impeachment clouds have assembled over the White House. Allegations that President Trump pressurised the Ukrainian government to launch an investigation of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden have led to Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, to announce an “official” impeachment effort.
Can Donald Duck?: Pelosi has been pushed by fellow Democrats in the House and Senate to prosecute Trump ever since the Democrats took the House last November. But she withheld for a long time, arguing for patience until the Mueller report on the alleged Trump-Russia collusion was released and that impeachment was an unpopular with voters and politically unfeasible (while the Democrats control the House, Trump’s Republicans hold a comfortable majority in the Senate). WSJ
Trading on an Exchange: The first Bitcoin Futures trade launched by International Exchange, the owner of New York Stock Exchange, was executed late Sunday. The move was aimed at enticing investors towards cryptocurrencies and making cryptos viable for all kinds of investors. The trade was met with lukewarm market reaction, with Bitcoin rising by only 0.5% to c. $9950.
This isn’t the first time Bitcoin futures have been launched. And previous attempts – by Cboe Global Markets and LedgerX – either floundered or faced opposition from regulators. CNBC
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