Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos will step down from his post later this year and be replaced by Andy Jassy, the head of the company’s cloud computing unit. Market regulator SEBI barred Future Group CEO Kishore Biyani and his brother from accessing the securities market for a year after investigating insider trading. The government expects to earn Rs 15,000 crore by selling Air India and two related companies. Here is more on what happened this week.
- Jeff Bezos, who founded Amazon as an online bookstore and built it into a shopping and entertainment behemoth, will step down later this year as CEO, a role he's had for nearly 30 years, to become executive chairman. Bezos will be replaced in the summer by Andy Jassy, who runs Amazon's cloud-computing business, the company said.
- The government expects to earn Rs 15,000 crore by selling Air India, its subsidiary Air India Express and AISATS, Business Standard reported. A formal indicative price for the airline will be finalised by a group of ministers after receiving bids. The Tata group is likely to be the frontrunner for acquiring Air India.
- Market regulator SEBI barred Future Group CEO Kishore Biyani and his brother Anil from accessing the securities market for a year after investigating insider trading in shares of its retail firm Future Retail in 2017. SEBI said the brothers traded in shares of Future Retail through a group company on the basis of unpublished price-sensitive information before a demerger of certain businesses of Future Retail that pushed its share price higher.
- India may give Cairn Energy a surrendered oil field in lieu of losing an international arbitration case against the British company, news agency PTI reported. Cairn, in December, was awarded $1.2 billion plus interests and costs against the Indian government over a tax dispute. It is reportedly taking steps to identify Indian assets overseas against which it could enforce its arbitration award.
- The central bank appointed an external firm to audit HDFC Bank’s IT infrastructure after asking the private lender in December to suspend offering new digital banking products and issuing credit cards until it fixed technical glitches. The lender’s e-banking services have suffered three outages since 2018.
- Hero MotoCorp has set up a separate business unit to sell Harley-Davidson vehicles in India, months after the US company ended most of its operations in the world's largest motorcycle market. Hero has added 11 Harley-Davidson dealers in India and begun wholesale dispatches of Harley products to dealers from January 18.
- Merger and acquisitions (M&A) transactions will become costlier after the Budget announced that goodwill (including existing goodwill) will not be eligible for tax depreciation. The amendments on goodwill are retrospective as depreciation on any past goodwill, partly claimed in the past, would not be available going forward.
A few links for further reading
Hard path to growth
The signals for the economy are not positive: overall demand is yet to pick up; the share of total exports in India’s GDP is declining, and industrial output pattern remains worrying.
Small savings scheme
Investors breathed a sigh of relief when the government announced that interest rates on these instruments would not be revised for the fourth quarter of the calendar year.
Invest and emigrate
The great Indian dream of settling abroad is achievable if one has a few crores to invest. Rich nations offer a variety of investment options in a quid pro quo arrangement: immigrants get a better quality of life and revenue from them helps these countries’ finances. Wealthy Indians, troubled by polluted cities and the red tape holding up entrepreneurship, may want a quick ticket out of the country. Sanjay Kumar Singh lists a range of options: from a Canadian province’s investor programme to America’s US EB-5 plan.