QBiz: Reliance To Sell Mumbai Power Business; Facebook-YouTube War

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<p>Anil Ambani.</p>
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1. India Needs to Strengthen RBI's Independence: IMF

India needs to strengthen Reserve Bank's independence so as to help it pro-actively supervise banks and deal with issues like removal of government-appointed directors on bank boards, says an IMF report.

The report also suggested that loan classification and provisioning rules should be reviewed to ensure they reflect observed losses, and to reduce special loan categories.

"Other priorities include introducing a risk-based solvency regime for insurers, unifying the oversight of commodities markets and addressing risks from politically exposed persons and the gold sector," it said.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) made these observations in its Financial System Stability Assessment (FSSA) for India.

(Source: PTI)

2. Facebook Steps Onto YouTube Turf With Universal Music Deal

Facebook Inc signed a multiyear licensing deal that lets the social network carry songs and artists from the world’s biggest record label, Universal Music Group, across its platforms.

The deal announced Thursday solves a long-running dispute, with Facebook agreeing to compensate the company and artists including Taylor Swift when users post videos that include copyrighted material. The accord includes Facebook, Instagram and Oculus virtual-reality technology, with Universal saying the company would become a “significant contributor” to the industry.

The deal sets Facebook up as a more direct competitor to Google’s YouTube, the most popular destination online for listening to music. Both technology giants are battling for a bigger share of people’s time, and music rights could help Facebook give users new ways to engage with its services.

(Read full story on BloombergQuint)

3. Reliance Infrastructure To Sell Mumbai Power Business To Adani

Anil Ambani’s Reliance Infrastructure Ltd has agreed to sell its Mumbai Power business to Adani Transmission Ltd in a deal valued at Rs 13,251 crore to pare debt.

The company will sell 100 percent stake, valuing the business at Rs 12,101 crore and regulatory assets at Rs 1,150 crore, it said in an exchange filing. The transaction could fetch another Rs 5,000 crore through regulatory assets under approval and Rs 550 crore from net working capital. That would take the total consideration to Rs 18,800 crore.

The business includes generation, transmission, and distribution of power across Mumbai and caters to nearly 3 million residential, industrial, and commercial consumers in suburbs of the city covering around 400 square kilometres.

(Read full story on BloombergQuint)

4. Azim Premji Trust Sells 2.73% Stake in Wipro

IT major Wipro on Thursday said Azim Premji Trust, along with other promoter entities, has sold its 2.73 percent stake for more than Rs 5,700 crore in the recently concluded buyback offer.

Azim Premji Trust along with nine other promoter entities – who were persons acting in concert (PAC) – offloaded a little over 17.96 crore shares during the buyback that closed on 13 December.

The price for the buyback offer was fixed at Rs 320 per share. Azim Premji Trust and PAC sold 17,96,69,656 shares at Rs 320 apiece, according to Wipro's regulatory filing.

A total of 34.37 lakh shares were brought back under the buyback offer with a total amount of Rs 11,000 crore being utilised.

(Source: PTI)

5. NPPA Notifies Prices of 27 Essential Formulations

National drug pricing regulator NPPA on Thursday said it has notified prices of 27 essential formulations, including those used for the treatment of diabetes, blood pressure and pain.

"NPPA has fixed/revised ceiling and Retail Prices of 27 scheduled formulations under Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 2013," it said in a statement.

NPPA fixes ceiling price of essential medicines of Schedule I under the Drugs (Prices Control) Order (DPCO) 2013. In respect of medicines that are not under price control, manufacturers are allowed to increase the maximum retail price by 10 percent annually.

The calculation for essential drugs is based on the simple average of all medicines in a particular therapeutic segment with sales of more than 1 percent.

(Source: PTI)

6. Sebi Measures to Boost Bond Market

Sebi has made significant changes to its regulatory programmes and its measures for developing the bond market are appreciated, according to the Financial Sector Assessment Programme (FSAP) report.

A joint programme of the IMF and the World Bank, FSAP undertakes a comprehensive and in-depth analysis of a country's financial sector.

The Finance Ministry on Thursday said that in relation to the securities market, the report acknowledges that Sebi has made significant changes to its regulatory programmes that directly address many recommendations contained in the detailed IOSCO (International Organisation of Securities Commissions) assessment published in 2013.

(Source: PTI)

7. UIDAI's Conditional Nod to Airtel for Telecom EKYC Till 10 January

In a breather, Bharti Airtel on Thursday was allowed to use Aadhaar for re-verification of its mobile customers till 10 January with stiff riders after it returned Rs 138-crore LPG subsidy flown into unsolicited payment bank accounts.

The Aadhaar-issuing body Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), however, maintained that Airtel Payments Bank eKYC licence will "remain suspended till final enquiry and audit report", sources privy to the development told PTI.

The stiff riders imposed by the UIDAI range from limiting the eKYC only for re-verification of telecom subscribers to Airtel informing its customers within next 24-hours about mapping of the DBT benefits back to the original bank accounts.

The UIDAI issued its second interim order to this effect on Thursday.

(Source: PTI)

8. Quikr Buys Two HDFC Units For Rs 357 Crore

Listings portal Quikr will take over two subsidiaries of HDFC Ltd for around Rs 357 crore, helping it to offer online-to-offline real estate brokerage solutions in a partnership with the mortgage lender.

HDFC approved the sale of its entire stake in HDFC Developers Ltd and HDFC Realty Ltd to Quikr India Pvt, according to a stock exchange filing. The sale is expected to be completed before 31 March.

In return, HDFC will get equity stake in the classifieds platform. “This will be about 3.4-3.5 percent of the Quikr stock,” Renu Sud Karnad, managing director of HDFC, told BloombergQuint in a phone interaction.

(Read full story on BloombergQuint)

9. Telecom Commission Discusses 100% FDI via Automatic Route

The highest decision making body at the Department of Telecom – the Telecom Commission – on Thursday discussed the proposal to allow 100 percent foreign direct investment in the sector through automatic route, a DoT official said.

"The government approved few schemes that are to be supported by Universal Service Obligation Fund," the official said.

Without sharing much details, the official said the proposal to allow 100 percent FDI in telecom sector through automatic route was part of the agenda at the meeting.

Following the abolition of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), which handled investment in restricted sector, the DoT is working on proposal to allow 100 percent FDI for telecom services through the automatic route which allows firms to attract foreign funds without its approval.

(Source: PTI)

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