Latest News Today: Chandrayaan-2 New Launch Date, Yes Bank Share Price Falls, Cheaper Mobile-Only Netflix Plan for India

Chandrayaan-2 new launch date announced. Yes Bank’s share price falls below book value as YoY profits fall by 91%. After PNB, Punjab & Sind Bank also reports being defrauded by Bhushan Power. Netflix hits revenue targets but misses its subscriber target by almost 50%. To offset its losing base in the US, Netflix hopes cheaper plans in India will help it stay afloat. Govt to implement Railway reforms, including handing over passenger trains to private operators. eBay buys 5.5% stake in Paytm Mall. Ebix acquires Yatra for an enterprise value of $338m. Crypto’s dark side includes offshore exchanges, scams and propaganda. Big tech broke the world wide web, so blockchain leaders want to replace the internet with an alternative.

 

Moving on to the top Business news of the day.

 

 INDIA 

 

Chandrayaan-2 new launch date announced. Govt to implement Railway reforms, including handing over passenger trains to private operators.

 

India Returns to the Moon: Chandrayaan-2 has its new launch date – July 22, 2:43pm IST. It plans to make India the fourth country to soft-land on the moon and the first country to do so near its South Pole.

 

The mission was originally supposed to launch on July 15 but at T-56 minutes it was paused after one of the launch vehicles’ fuel tanks showed a drop in pressure. Now, ISRO reports that all technical snags have been fixed and the mission has received the green light.

 

Next Station is...Reformation: As part of the Prime Minister’s 100-day agenda, Indian Railways is reportedly set to introduce a slew of amenities and reforms – six in number, to be exact.

These include WiFi services at 6,441 stations, elimination of all manned level crossings on the Golden Quadrilateral, raising the speed of some trains to bring down travel time, installation of advanced signaling systems, corporatisation of production units, and hiring of private passenger train operators.

 

 BANKING 

 

Yes Bank’s share price falls below book value as YoY profits fall by 91%. After PNB, Punjab & Sind Bank also reports being defrauded by Bhushan Power.

Unbroken Fall: Yes Bank’s YoY profits plunged by more than 91% while slippages in the June quarter were 10%, the highest for any quarter in a decade.

The crisis-hit bank managed to turn a standalone profit of INR113.76cr against the INR1,506.64cr loss of the previous quarter.

But this didn’t pacify the stock price, which fell almost 15% to reach a 52-week of INR83.7 – which is below the book value of INR114.3.

Double Whammy: Earlier this month, PNB had reported Bhushan Power & Steel’s INR3,805cr fraud.

Now, Punjab & Sind Bank has also reported fraud by Bhushan Power, this time to the tune of INR238.3cr. This caused the bank’s share price to drop by 6% intraday.

 

 NETFLIX 

 

Netflix hits revenue targets but misses its subscriber target by almost 50%. To offset its losing base in the US, Netflix hopes cheaper plans in India will help it stay afloat.

 

Netflix Ain’t Chill: Continuous subscription price hikes have caught up with the streaming giant. Netflix added only about half (2.7 million) as many paid subscribers as it had promised (5 million).

But revenue numbers ($4.92bn) were in line with investors’ expectations ($4.93bn). Despite this, Netflix’s stock price plummeted by 10%. Ah well, Stranger Things have happened.

Netflix says this setback is only temporary and it will add seven million subscribers this quarter. But the road is becoming increasingly rocky for the streaming giant, with increasing competition and its two most popular shows (The Office and Friends) scheduled to soon be pulled off the platform. Unless Netflix delivers on its promise for this quarter, it could all fall down like a House of Cards.

Michael Scott in a Kurta: Last quarter, Netflix said it would gain 300,000 subscribers in the US. Instead, it lost 130,000. No wonder the company is looking beyond the land of the free to stay afloat.

 

And what other market is as massive and young and promising as India? Netflix made this clear in its rationalisation for aiming to add seven million subscribers this quarter – India would lead the way.

 

How? Netflix hopes an INR250/month mobile-only app will help.

 

 DEALS 

 

eBay buys 5.5% stake in Paytm Mall. Ebix acquires Yatra for an enterprise value of $338m.
 

Make Way for eBay: California-based eBay has acquired 5.5% stake in Paytm Mall, the retail arm of payments platform Paytm. 
 

The investment which is said to be to the tune of $170m -$200m comes at a time when Paytm Mall’s business has undergone significant restructuring, with it moving away from a discounting and cash back-led strategy to following an online-to-offline (O2O) model.
 

This deal will allow shopkeepers on Paytm Mall to source over a million unique international products from eBay's global base, thereby providing an impetus to their cross-border trade efforts. 
 

In Other News: In its biggest acquisition till date in India, US-based software firm Ebix has acquired online travel portal Yatra for an enterprise value of $338m in an all-stock deal.
 

Yatra will continue to be independently run and will retain its brand and status in India.
 

Throwback Thursday: Ebix had entered India with the purchase of an 80% stake in ItzCash for INR800cr from Essel Group and other shareholders in May 2017. Since then, the company has acquired a dozen companies across sectors, such as remittance, travel, foreign exchange and education.

 

 

 CRYPTO 

 

Crypto’s dark side includes offshore exchanges, scams and propaganda. Big tech broke the world wide web, so blockchain leaders want to replace the internet with an alternative.

 

The Other Side of the Crypto Coin: There’s a lot of commentary on cryptocurrency’s potential for global, seamless, cheap transactions - as a solution to all the plagues of our global financial system. But as American economist Nouriel Roubini wrote recently, there’s also a dark side to the crypto coin.

 

According to Roubini, cryptocurrencies have contributed to a global criminal industry comprised of unregulated offshore exchanges, retail scams and propaganda. And because policymakers are not taking crypto seriously, it is fast evolving into “an unregulated casino ... where unchecked criminality runs riot”.

 

Too Many Forks to Give: Everybody knows about Bitcoin, but hardly anyone knows how blockchain technology (on which Bitcoin runs) works. To debate crypto, it’s important to understand how blockchain works and the various “Forks” that have occurred for Bitcoin.

 

Extra: The dream of a free and open internet has been hijacked by a handful of tech giants who are killing competition and compromising privacy. To tackle big tech, some blockchain leaders think the solution is to replace the internet with an alternative – “Web 3.0”.

 

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