Negative crude prices, Facebook-Reliance partnership, Infosys’ response to business uncertainty.

Facebook will invest $5.7 billion in the digital assets of Reliance Industries, making it the social-networking giant’s biggest deal since the 2014 purchase of WhatsApp. The Bombay High Court quashed all proceedings of the government against former IL&FS auditors Deloitte Haskins and Sells and BSR and Associates, an affiliate of KPMG, before the National Company Law Tribunal. India’s market regulator is likely to make rules more stringent for investors from China and other neighbouring nations. Netflix, the world's largest streaming service, gained 15.8 million paying customers in the first three months of the year. Here is more on what made news this week.

Business Standard
26th April

  • Facebook will spend $5.7 billion to buy a 9.99 per cent stake in Reliance Industries’ digital arm, as it looks to roll out services for India’s grocers and small businesses by capitalizing on WhatsApp’s extensive reach in the country. Jio Platforms houses Reliance’s telecoms arm Jio Infocomm, as well as its news, movie and music apps, along with other businesses.
  • An investment firm backed by a member of Abu Dhabi’s royal family agreed to buy a stake worth just over $1 billion in LuLu Group International, which runs one of the West Asia’s largest hypermarket chains. The company led by Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan acquired an almost 20 per cent holding in the Abu Dhabi-based supermarket group founded by Indian entrepreneur Yusuff Ali.
  • India’s market regulator is likely to make rules more stringent for investors from China and other neighbouring nations. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) could put a cap on purchase limit and ask custodians not settle any trade without proper identification of end-beneficiaries. This follows the recent modification in the government’s foreign direct investment (FDI) norms, with China at the centre of the tweak.
  • The Bombay High Court quashed all proceedings of the government against former ILF&S auditors Deloitte Haskins and Sells and BSR and Associates before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and a special court. Deloitte and BSR, an affiliate of KPMG, had moved the court last year to challenge the government’s plea before the NLCT seeking their removal as auditors of ILF&S, the shadow bank that nearly collapsed in 2018.
  • Infosys said it had suspended promotions and salary increments for employees this year, aiming to conserve cash in an uncertain business environment. The company said it plans to make 35,000 new job offers in FY21: to freshers and people with work experience. The company also said there would be no lay-offs because of the coronavirus outbreak and it would honour all commitments made through campus offers.
  • Netflix Inc reported a surge in new sign-ups as audiences stayed in their homes to help fight the novel coronavirus and binged on series such as Tiger King, but the company predicted a weaker second half of the year if quarantine orders are lifted. The world's largest streaming service gained 15.8 million paying customers in the first three months of the year, bringing its global total to 182.9 million at the end of March.
  • Businessman Vijay Mallya lost his appeal against a 2018 decision to extradite him to India to face allegations of Rs 9,000-crore fraud at his now defunct Kingfisher Airlines. The UK High Court ruled that there was a “prima facie case of fraud by false representation”. Mallya, 64, has two weeks to appeal against the court decision.
  • US crude oil futures collapsed below $0 on Monday for the first time in history, amid a coronavirus-induced supply glut, ending the day at a stunning minus $37.63 a barrel as desperate traders paid to get rid of oil. As billions of people around the globe stay home to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, physical demand for crude has dried up, creating a global supply glut.

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A few links for further reading

Hard path to growth

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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.

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