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

MC Insider: Why Poonawalla left India, IPO buzz, highest paid teacher in the country, deal whispers and more

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

Last Updated: May 03, 2021 / 08:31 AM IST

PRESSURE ON POONAWALLA

PRESSURE ON POONAWALLA

Adar Poonawalla, the CEO of Serum Institute of India (SII), the world's largest vaccine maker by production, has complained that he is receiving threatening calls from "powerful people" demanding supplies of Covishield. That pressure, Poonawalla said to British newspaper ‘The Times’ is largely behind his decision to fly into London to be with his wife and children. Poonawalla didn't reveal any names of those who threatened him, but the report said it came from chief ministers of Indian states, heads of business conglomerates and others demanding instant supply of Covishield. Poonawalla was provided with ‘Y’ category security by the Indian government last week. But if one were to believe grapevine from the vaccine industry, SII had allegedly taken an advance from corporates to supply vaccines assuming that the government would simultaneously allow supplies to the private market. But when that didn't happen, some of the restless corporates began dialling Poonawalla demanding their promised stocks. That's when things turned heated, we are told. Sticky situation indeed and both sides seem to have reasonable reasons for their stances.

EXECUTIVE DECISION

EXECUTIVE DECISION

At the end of the financial year and the round of bonuses, the domestic legal circles and India Inc have witnessed considerable churn. As someone put it nicely: “WFH due to COVID-19 has forced many to think hard about their careers and the road ahead. This would not have necessarily happened in the regular office atmosphere.” For instance, there is growing buzz around the imminent and some say inevitable exit of the general counsel of a diversified conglomerate. The focus has now shifted to who will replace him. Will someone be tapped once again from the world of corporate law firms? Will a general counsel be lured from a rival business group? Or will it be an insider this time? The jury is out on this one folks. Watch this space for more!

MARKET MENU

MARKET MENU

We are all aware of how incredibly competitive the domestic startup space can be. Founder egos, VC rivalry and peer pressure are all par for the course. So when this high-profile consumer internet firm backed by the crème de la crème of investors recently filed IPO papers with Sebi, all eyes were on the next move of its arch rival. Would it follow suit and pad up soon for a D-Street debut as well? Well, a little birdie has ruled out the possibility of any listing action in the near future. “They just raised a big amount and feel they will get a better valuation post the pandemic once things settle down,” per our birdie.

HEDGING BETS

HEDGING BETS

The investing frenzy from a hedge fund in the Indian startup ecosystem has shocked and surprised everyone in the space. But finally, there may be an explanation to the blitzkrieg! We heard this is an attempt from the said hedge fund to deepen its relationship with two large foreign VC firms operating in India. Partnering with them has fetched mind boggling returns for this fund in the past. The supposedly blind investing craze is because the fund strongly believes in whatever the two top VCs tell them. A billion dollars is being deployed in a few months based on trust, and not much more. Talk about conviction! Stay tuned for more!

EDTECH RICHES

EDTECH RICHES

In the past, MC Insider has regaled you with several tales on the madness of online education startups and the funds chasing them. But the party just doesn't seem to get over. Sample this. Recently, one edtech poached a professor from another edtech. The professor was making Rs 2 crore a year earlier until this unicorn offered the teacher a whopping Rs 25 crore to get him on board! He is probably the highest paid teacher in the country today. People say the unicorn edtech did not even have to pay that much to poach him. They chose to do so to drive home a point. That anyone who joins them can expected to be paid well. Phew! Are all teachers rubbing their hands with glee yet?

DEAL BEFORE A DEAL

DEAL BEFORE A DEAL

The second wave of the pandemic does not seem to have deterred activity on deal street. Word on deal street is that an asset management company business may soon find a buyer. And when it comes to the parent’s next big step, the regulator’s rule book is crystal clear. After all, this sale in the works is believed to be the pre-cursor for a bigger rejig within the group. Wink, wink!

HEALTHCARE FACTOR

HEALTHCARE FACTOR

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the focus on the healthcare segment for new offerings in the capital markets is greater than ever before. We hear this leading healthcare services provider backed by a few marquee investors is gearing up to file papers soon with market regulator Sebi. The firm provides healthcare solutions across employers, retail members and public health schemes and is keen on riding the healthcare wave. Our best wishes!

RINGFENCING INTERNSHIPS

RINGFENCING INTERNSHIPS

With the second wave of COVID-19 and lockdown-like restrictions across several Indian states, there are serious fears of internship cancellations across all sectors of India Inc. To avoid a repeat of the unfortunate events in 2020, the IITs and IIMs have started reaching out to corporates requesting them to delay the internships and not cancel them altogether. In fact, suggestions like potential reductions in stipend are also being discussed between these premier institutes and companies. After all, one has to find a middle ground and ensure students don’t get caught in no man’s land.

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