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Hush-hush tales from the world of stock markets, banking, corporate world and corridors of power

MC Insider: Hospital deal in the works, heavy metal bet, look who’s buying falling stocks, one more high-profile AMC exit

Last Updated: September 28, 2020 / 10:53 AM IST

‘PAI’S TO BE PATIENT

‘PAI’S TO BE PATIENT

Getting this going with a well-known hospital chain. We know it’s really ambitious— it was all primed to acquire prime assets and surf towards a pan-India footprint. But things didn’t go as planned. What happened? More like what didn’t happen. Extended bidding wars with rivals, valuation mismatch and a whole bunch of other factors. But all that might change soon. A little birdie tells us that the firm is busy applying the finishing touches to buy out the Indian assets of an overseas healthcare provider. It can fancy its chances this time because it is the lone horse left in the race. An official announcement was on the cards much earlier, but shucks, the pandemic played spoilsport. Nonetheless, what adds more comfort is the fact that the hospital chain’s PE backer has acquired a few assets of the same target earlier. All eyes on whether the deal jinx will be broken this time around.

'ARC'H RIVALS

'ARC'H RIVALS

To the list of businesses having a forgettable 2020, add ARCs, or asset reconstruction companies. They are a miffed lot these days. This can be traced back to the RBI’s recent rejection of the sale of bankrupt telecom operator Aircel to a solo bidder, an ARC, under the insolvency and bankruptcy code, or IBC. The move has led to the ARC community knocking hard on the doors of the banking regulator. ARCs believe IBC provisions do not bar their participation. The regulator’s stance is clear: ARCs cannot directly buy equity in a company, they can only buy debt and convert the debt to equity at a later stage if they want. So can ARCs participate in IBC proceedings? Some experts believe they can, but as joint applicants, with a separate equity partner on board, and not go solo. If that’s the case, then what’s the brouhaha about? What’s more, we hear even the MCA and Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India have swung into action and reached out to the RBI on this thorny issue. Maybe the regulator needs to set the record straight once and for all.

MAY THE ‘FORBES’ BE WITH YOU

MAY THE ‘FORBES’ BE WITH YOU

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WEAVING IN AND OUT OF SCRIPS

WEAVING IN AND OUT OF SCRIPS

HEAVY METAL BET

HEAVY METAL BET

Post a near successful delisting of a midcap software player, the first by an Indian company since December 2018, a "professorial" investor has made his debut in a metal stock walking the same path. The "professor" and his HNI students have cornered large positions in this stock, hoping it will rally just like the software scrip did. However, the software firm benefited from a bullish global tailwind. That may not be the case in the metals segment. Plus, the billionaire owner of the metals company is known to have a tight-fisted approach when it comes to parting with the moolah.

ANOTHER BIG AMC EXIT

ANOTHER BIG AMC EXIT

PSU banking stocks may come under selling pressure in the near term. Reason: a "deep" value hunter fund manager is hanging up his boots after more than two decades at a pioneering AMC. This fund manager who saw "deep" value on most PSUs, seems to have met his "Waterloo" as most of his equity funds are underperforming compared with that of his peers. One hopes the successor will get a clean slate to work his magic.

DEAL DILEMMA

DEAL DILEMMA

Here’s some good news for cash-hungry startups. A private equity heavyweight which shares its name with a domestic cricket team is under immense pressure from its global bosses to invest in the startups and tech segment in India. On its radar are unicorns where large cheques can be signed. The fund has come close to sealing two deals in this niche space but backed off due to issues on diligence. After all, it’s not that simple for a PE fund to go against the grain and strike riskier deals at Himalayan valuation multiples.

MOUNTAIN VIEW VS NOIDA

MOUNTAIN VIEW VS NOIDA

The Paytm vs Google slugfest has brought the debate around the requirement of an 'Atmanirbhar' app store out in the open. After all, Paytm is a regulated entity and an applicant for a small bank license. And there are questions being raised in hushed tones in banking circles. Firstly, what all can a regulated entity put in its mobile banking platform and secondly how can Google simply knock off a banking app from the Play Store on the basis of non-compliance with its gambling policies. A source in the know asked if this will reinvigorate the discussion around the need for Paytm to have a separate banking app which we hear is what was always on the regulator’s wish list. Watch this space for more on the tussle between the Mountain View based search giant and the Noida based payment major.

HEALTHCARE GUARANTEE

HEALTHCARE GUARANTEE

As Indian corporates gradually start moving away from the WFH policy and call in folks to offices, employees don't seem to be fully convinced about their safety in the COVID-19 era. Employees now want their companies to state officially on email that the organisation will be fully responsible for the health of their staff and will pay for the coronavirus-related expenses in case the employee contracts it after resuming work in office. A Mumbai-based financial services firm was stumped when five employees wrote to the HR seeking an 'official guarantee' after two colleagues tested positive. Needless to say, the company went back to the policy of 'come to work if circumstances permit'.

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