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Weekend Bites: Ambani & Ambani, and old white males

In which we munch over the week's platter of news and views

Joe Biden

Joe Biden

Suveen Sinha New Delhi
Eighteen years ago, Kokilaben persuaded her two sons, Mukesh and Anil, to sign a peace accord that split the Reliance empire. Mukesh, the older and more studious brother, got oil, gas, petrochemicals, and manufacturing. Electricity, telecom, and financial services went to the savvier Anil. 

For the initial few years, both the halves did well. Forbes magazine's list of the world's richest in 2008 had Mukesh in fifth place with $43 billion and Anil in sixth with $42 billion.

Twelve years later, in February 2020, filings in a London court showed Anil saying that his net worth had become zero after taking into account his liabilities.

That brings us to two things. One, this should settle the heredity versus environment debate once and for all. Secondly, one of the last vestiges of Anil's empire may have finally found a resolution this week.

Story of the week: Winners and losers

The Hinduja group was the sole bidder in the second round of auction for the bankrupt Reliance CapitalTorrent, the highest bidder in the first round, did not participate. 

The Hindujas were the second highest bidder in the first round but submitted a higher bid within hours of the auction's closing. That made the lenders seek a second auction.

Upset at the Hindujas' revised bid, Torrent went to court. The case is still open, but the Supreme Court allowed the second round. The next date of hearing is in August and the result of the auction is subject to the judgement.

The Hinduja group, which has a stake in IndusInd Bank, stands to get control of two profit-making insurance ventures owned by RCap, if their proposal finally goes through. 

RCap went into the debt resolution process in November 2021 after defaulting on loans worth Rs 24,000 crore. 

In other news…
 
India's economy continues to be robust, but rising crude oil prices, adverse weather conditions, and the global banking crisis are things to worry about, the finance ministry said in its Monthly Economic Review for March.

Godrej Consumer Products acquired the consumer products business of Raymond Consumer Care, a subsidiary of the BSE-listed Raymond, in an all-cash deal for Rs 2,825 crore. Godrej will get Raymond's marquee brands, such as Park Avenue, KamaSutra, and Premium. Park Avenue as a clothing brand will remain with Raymond.

Green energy and fuels company Avaada secured funding worth $1.07 billion, led by private equity player Brookfield, which will make an equity investment of $1 billion. 

Maruti Suzuki reported a 42 per cent increase in net profit for the quarter ended March 31 and a doubling of its bottom line for the full year 2022-23. It also announced a plan to set up a new factory to expand its annual capacity by 1 million units. 

Special series: Where we are with CSR

Part 1: Government-run firms accounted for the majority of the donations that listed entities made to the Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) Fund. 

Part 2: Companies that pushed the envelope of charitable spending beyond the legal requirements helped take the aggregate CSR expenditure by all listed companies closer to the cumulative mandatory amount in 2021-22. 

Part 3: Companies spent a smaller share of their mandatory charitable spending in the Northeast than before.

Tech that: Word from the world of technology and start-ups

Campus hiring by Indian IT services firms will be about 70 per cent of what they hired in 2018-19. HR experts say the hiring targets of companies will now go back to pre-pandemic levels after an aberration of demand flux over the past three years.

Watch it: From our hot audio-visual serving

This week, let's look beyond The Morning Show and check out its sister, The Banking Show. TBS is a weekly and, in the spirit of a large-format shows, covers many things. This week, it touched upon a sensitive subject that seems to have roused the interest of YouTube trawlers: HR at public sector banks. Have a look here
 
What is Suveen obsessing over these days?

American President Joe Biden announced that he will seek a second term next year, setting up a likely rematch with Donald Trump. The Democratic Party is behind Biden despite his low approval ratings. The formal announcement, as news agency AP reported, means Biden is now free to raise money directly for his campaign.

Biden is the oldest US President in history. If elected again, he will be 86 by the time his second term ends. He agrees that his age is a legitimate concern but is confident that he will be able to endure the ravages of another campaign as well as one more term.

His rivals are not so sure.

Republican Donald Trump, a spring chicken at 76, mocked Biden by imitating a lost or stumbling elderly man and also coined a new nickname – something he apparently enjoys doing for a lot of people – for the sitting president.

Another Republican running for president, Nikki Haley, has called for mental competency testing for candidates over 75. It is a stone that targets both the birds, Biden as well as Trump.

Biden's bid appears to be at odds with the opinion of the American people as well; 70% of them don't want him to seek a second term.

The melee resulted in one of the more inspired headlines by our Edit Page team. Do not miss Old White Males.
 
This is Suveen signing off. Please send comments, news, or views about anything — from zero net worth to spring chickens —to suveen.sinha@bsmail.in.

(Suveen Sinha is Chief Content Editor at Business Standard)

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First Published: Apr 29 2023 | 7:30 AM IST

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