Hush-hush tales from the world of stock markets, banking, corporate world and corridors of power
Last Updated: September 27, 2021 / 09:29 AM IST
KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCKING ON THIS COMPANY’S BOARD
A prominent business magnate is busy planning his comeback to this company’s board. The problem is that the regulator doesn't like his re-entry. The regulator's nominees on the board have already turned down the proposal and, logically, this has irked the businessman. The investor is a big shot. He already owns a significant stake in the firm and has strong local connections. The regulator fears that he along with another prominent investor will hijack the board. Not to mention, this company’s board is already infamous for lobbyists and the regulator has had bitter experiences in the past. An army of lawyers, acting for the investor, has already moved the court defending his candidature. What now? Let the courts decide.
THE BEAUTY OF WATERLUST
This founder of a beauty brand has risen to fame of late, scaling the business rapidly and raising money from top investors. The question is how? While doing all this, the founder has split his last year between Dubai and Maldives. Competitors and even some investors are flummoxed by how work gets done seemingly in vacation mode. One investor joked the company may become a unicorn while the founder continues jet setting. What a life, we say!
HERE'S A RARE HIRING FOLKS!
This multinational VC firm with five unicorns in its portfolio is seeing a churn in its India leadership team. Its former leader is now spending more time with southeast Asian and global matters, having become prominent in the firm's global plans, while another partner recently moved to the US for personal reasons. This leaves a leadership vacuum and the firm is now hunting for a new India partner and has given the job to a top recruitment firm. Given that lateral VC hiring is rare, the move could shake up things in the ecosystem!
A 100-bed private hospital in an Andhra coastal city was on the brink before COVID-19 hit. It was up for sale but couldn't find any taker. COVID-19 turned the tables. The hospital was converted into a COVID-19 treatment centre, and it found its feet. Suddenly, a Sweden-headquartered hospital group flush with cash took over the hospital. We hear that the Swedish company bought many such hospitals across India, in tier-2 and tier-3 cities. The hospital is now again brimming with activity. COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for many businesses but for certain businesses like hospitals, it infused new life.
FOR GOD'S SAKE!
A week ago, Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy reconstituted the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam Board or TTD, the richest Hindu temple in the world. This time, besides regular trustees (25 in total), he has also nominated 52 special invitees to the TTD. It is an unprecedented move. The TTD office bearer is a highly sought after post. The rich and famous of India want to be on the board just to make a statement that they are important. For 25 trustees, Jagan had received over 100 recommendations from the who’s who of India including all major political parties across the country. The pressure was so intense that, in order to keep everyone happy, he had to do something unusual-- appointing over four dozen special invitees. But, there was a slip between the cup and the lip. The main opposition TDP went to the AP High Court challenging it a few days later. The HC has given a four-week stay and a TDP leader has even filed a caveat. Celebration in the homes of the special invitees has now turned into sombre moments. They are now praying to the all-powerful Tirupati Venkatesha to rescue them from judicial wrangling. Will the Lord have mercy on them?
THE SAGA OF PSU SALES
The government may be gung- ho about asset monetisation exercises to mop up much-needed moolah, but a few of the key, proposed PSU sales have been on the backburner for long, due to procedural hurdles and for want of sarkari approvals. Take the case of this PSU divestment process which has been stuck for the past two years. One of the primary reasons is the delay in finalising the land-leasing policy linked to the Railways. That requires the all-important Cabinet nod, and once this hurdle is cleared, word has it that several foreign suitors may swoop in!
WEALTH CREATION & THE WAR FOR TALENT
Last week Moneycontrol had reported that a senior partner from EY had resigned and was likely to join food-tech platform Zomato in a senior finance role. In a bid to tap the best talent for specialised roles, startups and e-commerce firms have taken on board several executives from advisory firms, including law firms, over the last six to eight months. And from advising the client, these professionals get some hardcore experience by stepping into the shoes of the latter. Of course, that comes with greater accountability as well. A seasoned executive told us, "See the fixed component would be higher at a Big Four, but it’s the Esop factor, which in many cases, changes the game entirely. But one has to choose carefully.” New-age companies which have listed or are exploring IPOs have become synonymous with some serious wealth creation in the recent past. Remember Freshworks? More than 500 employees became crorepatis in a single day post the Nasdaq listing!
MUTUAL FUND 2.0
How do you revitalise a three-decade-old mutual fund house that has been having an inconsequential existence for most of its life? Aside from considering passively managed funds, to catch up with what most of the new-age mutual fund houses are launching these days, it is also evaluating the books of a smaller, public-sector, rival fund house with whom it might have entered into an agreement to acquire it. Fund managers are pouring into the books of this younger, public-sector fund house, to check for any ticking bombs, especially on the fixed-income side. With the memories of credit crisis of 2020 still fresh, the older fund house doesn’t want to take on any bad assets and understandably so. Compliance work is on, in terms of taking necessary approvals from regulator and stakeholders. Industry experts say that a little bit of distribution help may go a long way in helping it reach newer and younger audiences. This is the second serious attempt of the old house to inject some vitality. Nearly a decade ago, it had sold a part of its stake to a foreign fund house. But they parted ways a few years ago. The good thing about the older fund house is that, despite a benign existence, its debt funds were not affected by the credit crisis. Its fixed income portfolios have been managed with care and, unlike many of its private sector counterparts, have been unaffected by the credit crisis. Its main complaint has been that many intermediaries disregard safety and focus largely on returns. That’s where this fund house has suffered, aside from its equity performance. If the acquisition of this bank-sponsored fund house goes through, it hopes to get a bank platform to sell its funds.
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