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Nirav Modi Arrested in PNB Scam, Social Media Giants to Propose “Code of Ethics” by Tonight, Instagram Adds Checkout Feature, Google Launches New Gaming Service et al.

Professor of Financial Economics and Part-time Value Investor, Transfin.
Mar 20, 2019 2:14 PM 5 min read

Nirav Modi arrested. Vodafone Idea rights issue priced at heavy discount. Cred in talks to raise $100m in fresh funding. Social media giants to propose “Code of Ethics” by tonight. Instagram adds checkout feature. Google launches new gaming service.


Moving on to the top Business stories of the week. 



Vodafone Idea rights issue priced at heavy discount. Airtel transfers additional 16.76% stake in Infratel to Nettle Infrastructure.

For Sale!: Vodafone Idea plans to raise nearly INR25,000cr from its shareholders by issuing fresh equity at a steep 61% discount.

The company will issue 2,000 crore new shares at INR12.5 apiece to existing shareholders. The funds raised will dilute Vodafone Idea’s existing equity base by c. 70%.

Massive Debt: Vodafone Idea will use the funds to pare its massive debt of over INR1,23,660cr. Vodafone Group and the Aditya Birla Group would contribute INR11,000cr and INR7,250cr, respectively. The rest will be raised from the public.

Second Time: This would be the second fund infusion by the promoters to reduce debt. Earlier, Vodafone and Aditya Birla Group infused nearly INR14,140cr in their respective telecom operations to cut debt for the Vodafone-Idea merger to go through. 

Take More: Bharti Airtel has transferred additional 16.76% worth INR10,000cr, it holds in Bharti Infratel to its wholly-owned subsidiary, Nettle Infrastructure.

Earlier: The transaction comes shortly after Airtel had transferred 32% stake in Bharti Infratel to Nettle Infrastructure last week reducing its stake from 50.33% to 18.3% in Infratel.

More Say: Following the latest transaction, Nettle Infrastructure now holds 19.94% stake in Bharti Airtel, up from 3.18% earlier.



Nirav Modi arrested. Etihad seeks to exit Jet, in talks to offload entire stake to SBI. SBI to sell NPAs to recover dues.

Finally Caught: Nirav Modi arrested in London today in connection to the INR13,500cr PNB fraud. 

Request Granted: The move comes after a London court had issued an arrest warrant against Nirav Modi in response to the Enforcement Directorate's (ED) request for his extradition. 

Recap: Nirav Modi had fled India after allegedly siphoning off about INR13,500cr from PNB using Letters of Undertaking (LoU) in collusion with his uncle Mehul Choksi.

Bailing Out: In a bid to exit the beleaguered airline, Etihad Airways has offered to sell its entire stake in Jet Airways to SBI. The company is offering its 24% stake at INR150 per share, which would amount to INR400cr.

If Interested: Etihad has also asked SBI to consider buying its 50.1% stake in Jet Privilege, the frequent flyer programme of Jet Airways.

Etihad also wants SBI to take over its liabilities in the form of a guarantee for Jet Airways' INR1,000cr loan from HSBC Dubai.

Only Way: SBI will auction its non-performing assets (NPAs) amounting to INR6,169cr in the next 10 days to recover its dues from various defaulting entities.

The accumulated value of assets on sale is INR6,169cr and the actual realization will happen depending on the reserve price and bids from the buyers.

View the list of NPAs SBI plans on selling here.



Cred in talks to raise $100m in fresh funding. Pine Labs acquires Qwikcilver for $110m.

High Hopes: Fintech startup Cred is in talks to raise $100m in its next funding round, potentially valuing the company at $300m, up from $75m last year. 

The financing round is likely to be led by existing investors, including Sequoia Capital and Ribbit Capital. 

Earlier: Dreamplug Technologies, which runs Cred, had previously raised about $25m in June from Sequoia Capital, RPT Global, Morningside Ventures and DST Global.

Buying Gifts: Merchant platform company Pine Labs has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Bangalore-based gift card solutions provider, Qwikcilver for $110m.

Combined Focus: This acquisition will bring together the strengths of Pine Labs’ merchant-focused and Qwikcilver’s brand-focused software-as-a-service (SaaS) technology platforms, and augment their Indian and international market reach.

One of a Kind: The combined gift solutions business will be the largest in India with a customer base of over 250 brands and retailers, and 1500 enterprise customers.



DLF forms joint venture with Hines for new project. HCL enters into shared service agreement with Xerox.

New Deal: DLF has formed a joint venture (JV) with US-based property investment firm Hines for constructing a high-end commercial real estate project in Gurugram worth INR1,900cr.

No 50-50: DLF will hold a 67% stake in the JV while Hines will own the remaining 33%, with an option to increase its stake to up to 49%.

DLF and Hines will together invest INR1,900cr in the project. Hines has already invested about INR500cr.

Bigger and Better: DLF and Hines entered into their first joint venture in 2008 to develop One Horizon Center in Gurugram. The new project will be nearly three times the size of One Horizon.


Copy That: HCL has signed a $1.3bn renewal contract with Xerox to manage part of its shared services, including global administrative and support functions and other tech-enabled operations. The incremental contract would be for a period of seven years. Xerox has been a customer of HCL since 2009.


As part of the existing agreement, HCL manages Xerox’s mechanical, electrical and software engineering activities for printer and imaging product lines.


Together, HCL and Xerox have delivered 215 US patents and have created R&D labs that are integrated with Xerox infrastructure and standards.



Social media giants to propose “Code of Ethics” by tonight. Instagram adds checkout feature. Google launches new gaming service.

Clever Strategy: The Election Commission of India has announced that the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) along with heads of social media companies will come up with a voluntary “Code of Ethics”, that will be along the lines Model Code of conduct during elections.

Noble Mission: The Code of Ethics will work to prevent inappropriate or objectionable political advertisements. This may include ‘Terms of Use’ including a commitment from users that they will not misuse the medium for political purposes or propaganda.

All In: Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Google, ShareChat and TikTok have provided updates on the appointment of dedicated grievance redressal channels to expedite action on problematic content and mechanisms to prevent platform abuse.

New Venture: Instagram is testing a new feature in the US that lets users shop from the photo-sharing app by using a “checkout” option on items tagged for sale.

Good Alternative: The move is in line with Facebook’s plan to monetize higher-growth units like Instagram, as its centerpiece News Feed product struggles to generate fresh interest.

Partnerships: Instagram has partnered with more than 20 brands including Adidas, H&M, Kylie Cosmetics and Michael Kors on the shopping feature.

Game on The Go: Google has unveiled its cloud platform-based game streaming service named Google Stadia, which will be launched by the end of this year.

No Frills: Stadia is a cloud-based game streaming platform, which works across internet-enabled devices such as desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. The service does not require any installation and works through Google Chrome, streaming content directly to the device.

Read more about the service here.


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