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MC Insider: Reckless stock pick, chip race, not another googly please, ugly startup fight, chilling in Khandala, and more

Last Updated: August 03, 2022 / 08:29 AM IST

TALE OF TWO STATES

Quite a few states were in the race and tried wooing this joint venture (JV) of two global majors to get them to set up their semiconductor manufacturing units. Each state saw this as a ticket to a package deal – mega investment, huge job creation and the opportunity to emerge as a state that would play an important role in India’s semiconductor vision. Then the pictures of a state’s chief minister and the key officials of the JV were flashed all over the media and it seemed the race was over – Maharashtra it is. Reports quoted top state officials saying that a pact will be signed soon. But in a classic twist in the tale, we hear that talks are still on with a neighbouring state, which is now equipped with a semiconductor policy. The state is not only the first to have such a policy, it is also one heading for elections later this year. We picked up that the leadership will leave no stone unturned to flash this mega investment as a trophy! As they say, picture abhi baaki hai!

NOT SO SAVVY MOVES

NOT SO SAVVY MOVES

Word on the Street is that the erstwhile celebrated investor of the 'Dotcom' era, who got himself in a bit of a soup with the regulator, has somehow found the means to invest in one of the most controversial stocks of this year. Yet, the investment has likely turned sour with the savvy investor sitting on some marked-to-market losses currently. The stock in question has become infamous in the market given the dramatic decline in its price after an even more dramatic increase last year. The stock's highs were driven by the rosy outlook by its management, promise of a bonus issue that is yet to fructify, and influencers pushing the stock on dedicated social media channels. In the last six months of 2021, it has risen over 2,000 percent only to lose more than half its value since the beginning of 2022. Ouch!

HOW’S THAT?

HOW’S THAT?

A broadcaster that recently lost an international cricket media rights package at the very last minute has now pulled up its socks. This network giant recently lost its existing overseas cricket rights to a rival that entered the race at the 11th hour, offered a bigger cheque and won the rights. Now for another cricket rights package that will be offered by a foreign cricket board, we hear that the network has given a blank cheque. Caught off guard last time, looks like the network is pulling out all the stops to not let go off another international cricket rights.

INFLUENCER POWER

INFLUENCER POWER

Public relations professionals have never been short of ways to publicise their clients. But now they have a new trick in the hat — influencers. The role of these online micro-celebrities has extended beyond marketing. At a recent press conference of an FMCG major, several of these influencers were seen posing questions to the management. So far so good. Only problem was that it was at the behest of the company's PR. These folks were paid handsomely for their efforts, we heard. The aim is to make a press conference appear successful while also gaining traction on social media.

GLOVES ARE OFF

GLOVES ARE OFF

A rather public spat that broke out between two of the country's prominent startups may not be a one-off incident we hear. The tension has been brewing for months now, with one of the startups bad-mouthing the other to government officials at every meeting in the national capital in recent months, citing its foreign shareholding. The other startup, at the receiving end of these machinations, finally decided enough was enough and decided to go public with its grievances. While the jury is out on who will win this bout, the entire startup ecosystem is keeping a close watch on this spat.

TRIMMING MORE FLAB?

TRIMMING MORE FLAB?

A well-funded edtech startup is looking at various ways of reducing expenses amid a drop in demand for its services after the pandemic slowdown. The startup was also looking to raise another large round by August-September, but the fundraise seems to have gotten delayed due to a correction in global financial markets. The startup has already laid off hundreds of employees since the start of 2022 and said it won’t fire anymore. But a source tells us that it is now left with no other choice but to undertake another round of layoffs, as it looks to cut costs. Hmm, let’s wait and watch.

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

This startup got its knickers in a twist because a publication said it was laying off employees. The company went to great lengths to explain that these weren't 'layoffs' but a 'corrective measure' and 'rationalisation'. Another term that startups love to use to make layoffs seem better is 'right sizing'. If costs were not so out of control, there wouldn't be a need for so many euphemisms in the first place!

WORDS OF WISDOM

WORDS OF WISDOM

A LinkedIn influencer who also happens to be an adman was recently spotted picking the wise words of a Chinese philosopher and adding his name next to it. This fumed a few adlanders who called him out. However, the adman who channelled the philosopher and put his name to the quote quietly and quickly took the post down. A classic manoeuvre in damage control by a digital expert.

CHALO KHANDALA

CHALO KHANDALA

Ad moles tell us budgets are tight at advertising agencies at the moment. So tight that several agencies have moved their annual senior leadership meetings to local hill stations or to their office boardrooms. Some, we hear, are doing it over Zoom, for the third year now. Gone were the days when CXOs of these agencies posted pictures on their Gram from exotic beaches, sipping the most expensive booze. Goodbye, Bali. Hello, Khandala.

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