Govt to sell 100% stake in Air India. BN Srikrishna condemns Personal Data Protection Bill, says it can turn India into an “Orwellian State”. Saudi Aramco hits $2tr target valuation.
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Banking On the Edge: The Board of private-lender Yes Bank on Tuesday failed to reach a final decision on potential investors even as it favoured a $500mn offer from Citax Holdings. Shares of Yes Bank slid 15% on Wednesday, the biggest decline since Oct. 1, after dropping 10% in the previous session.
This has heightened concerns about the quality of the offers it has received. “The delay is indicating that either there are regulatory issues or maybe the bank is not getting serious offers," said Siddharth Purohit, an analyst at SMC Global Securities. Livemint
“If the bank is unable to raise money in the next six months, it poses a grave danger to the financial system,” noted Suresh Ganapathy, an analyst at Macquarie Capital Securities (India).
Meanwhile...: Yes Bank's CEO Ravneet Gill in an interview on Wednesday said that the Board didn’t make a final decision on the investment offer from Citax as it is expecting one more investor to commit in the next few days. The lender wants to club both those deals together to raise more than $500mn at the same time, he said. Business Standard
Big Brother is Watching: Justice BN Srikrishna, who led the Committee that drafted the Personal Data Protection Bill (PDP), said the bill placed in Parliament on Wednesday is “dangerous” and can turn India into an “Orwellian State”.
“They have removed the safeguards. That is most dangerous. The government can at any time access private data or government agency data on grounds of sovereignty or public order. This has dangerous implications,” Srikrishna told ET.
The new bill was cleared by the Union Cabinet last week and shared with Members of Parliament on Tuesday. On December 11, it was referred to a joint select committee of both the Houses of Parliament amid protests by the Opposition. The committee could submit a report before the Budget session of the Parliament in early 2020. ET Policy
As per experts, India’s Personal Data Protection Bill offers stronger provisions to users seeking deletion of their information from commercial and social platforms compared to European privacy laws. The Bill allows individuals to approach the adjudicating officer under the independent regulator (the Data Protection Authority) to restrict or delete personal content that meets certain predefined criteria. The EU, meanwhile, puts the onus on the user to reach out to data controllers of companies such as Google and Facebook to delete such content. More on this here.
Changing Hands: The government is set to sell 100% stake in debt-ridden national carrier Air India under the proposed disinvestment process, said Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri.
Air India's net loss in 2018-19 is provisionally estimated to be INR8,556.35cr. ToI
In Other News...: Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary Reliance Strategic Business Ventures Ltd (RSBVL) has acquired 85% stake in NowFloats Technologies for a cash consideration of INR141.63cr in a bid to strengthen the group's digital and new commerce initiatives.
RSBVL proposes to make a further investment of up to INR75cr, subject to achieving agreed milestones, and is expected to be completed by December 2020, it added. Post the additional investment, the shareholding of RSBVL in NowFloats will increase to 89.66%. Business Today
Stop Only At The Summit: In early trading on Thursday, energy giant Saudi Aramco's share price rose 8% to $10.30, giving it the coveted market capitalization of $2tr, up from the $1.7tr valuation set during the company’s IPO. ET Markets
Huawei Technologies has secured a commitment from Telefónica SA, one of three major mobile operators in Germany to build part of the country's 5G infrastructure, subject to Huawei equipment meeting government security standards.
The deal, if finalised, will strengthen Huawei's position in Europe’s largest economy despite calls from lawmakers to bar the Chinese company. CNN Business
Rocket Man: Jeff Bezos-founded aerospace manufacturer Blue Origins has recorded another successful mission for its New Shepard sub-orbital launch vehicle. This is the sixth flight of this re-used booster, a record for the vehicle. And it is also the ninth time Blue Origin has launched commercial payloads aboard New Shepard.
And Way Up We Go: On board the 18-metre-tall rocket was a capsule designed to one day carry up to six people – including commercial passengers – but this time carrying experimental payloads to be used in research. It also had thousands of postcards on board written by students from around the world, which were submitted to the Club for the Future nonprofit set up by Blue Origin earlier this year to provide educational resources about space to schools and students. TechCrunch
The Final Cut: Following its two-day policy meeting this week – the last of its kind this year – the Federal Reserve held interest rates steady in the 1.5%-1.75% range, as was widely expected, amid persistently low inflation. The decision was unanimous, unlike the previous three meetings which witnessed monetary easing and dissent from some Committee members.
Following the previous three cuts, the Central Bank has cumulatively cut interest rates by three quarters of a percentage point so far this year. CNBC
No More Easing?: The Fed also indicated that it would hit pause on further rate cuts next year. In its statement explaining the decision, the committee indicated that monetary policy is likely to stay where it is for an unspecified time, though officials will continue to monitor conditions as they develop. Meanwhile, the White House has been consistently riling against the Fed for not pursuing more aggressive easing to boost the economy. President Donald Trump has been calling for interest rates to be cut to effectively zero. Washington Post
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