Part 6 of our 'Word on the Street' column, which gets you the unreported chatter from the world of business and markets, put together by our fly-on-the-wall reporters.
Trouble in paradise
Even as one of India Inc’s most iconic Chairmen (Azim Premji) vacates the corner room, the chatter is getting louder about a former Chairman of a leading corporate group, who seems to have trouble letting go. The latest buzz, and worry, in this conglomerate is about the increasing friction between the incumbent and the former Chairman, who continues to wield a lot of clout. If not for the timely intervention of group seniors, say insiders, history would have repeated itself, and much too soon. An immediate crisis may have been averted, but beneath the apparent calm, differences continue to simmer
It’s difficult to say how the first sparks of friction came about between the once admired mentor, and his blue-eyed protégé. But it slowly built up as the senior raised objections to many of the incumbent’s plans to restructure the group and improve efficiencies. On paper, the mentor is no longer involved in day-to-day affairs. However, he is said to keep track of everything happening in the group, and so took offence at not being informed of key decisions. This included plans to sell parts of an over-priced acquisition.
The seniors are working hard to keep peace, especially when the group has already been hit with some negative publicity after troubles in some of its units. But it is an uneasy calm, as neither side can afford to precipitate matters.
The ‘screen test’ that matters!
With plans of hitting 1000 screens by FY22, PVR Cinemas head honcho Ajay Bijli is undoubtedly the 'The Lord Of The Screens' in the multiplex segment with presence in key strategic locations. But Bijli's rivals are not giving up without a fight. A little birdie tells us one such peer which has raised funds from a promoter entity is mighty keen to reduce the gap and may be open to combine forces with one of its domestic rivals… Well.. as fans of the Avengers franchise, this is one 'Endgame' we can’t wait to watch!
Second time lucky?
Mergers and acquisitions in the insurance sector tend to be a tough task because of complex shareholder agreements arising from multiple stakeholders. The ex-honcho of an insurer who was leading the negotiations to acquire a rival firm has since moved on to another industry in a CEO’s role. The previous round of talks did not result in a deal, but the honcho has resumed negotiations with that insurer. However, industry watchers are not hopeful that the honcho will have any better luck this time. That is because the regulator of the sector in which the honcho operates is very finicky about concentration risks, and will require a lot of persuasion to bless the deal.(Contributed by Prince Thomas, Ashwin Mohan & M Saraswathy.)The Great Diwali Discount!
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