16th September 2021
Good Morning! 

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) crossed $200 billion in market cap yesterday! The first $100 billion took them 50 years but the next $100 billion came in just 3.5 years.

While we're talking about Tata - There was an error in yesterday's story about the Tata Group, and we'd like to apologize for it. We talked about the Mistry family owning 35% of Tata Sons, but as pointed out by one astute reader, they actually own ~18%. Apologies for that!

Also yesterday, Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekaran came out and said that they actually don't plan on making any changes to the current structure.



+ 0.82%



+ 0.80%



- 0.26%



- 0.77%



- 3.6 bps



+ 3.24%

*As of market close

  • Markets: Headline indexes Sensex and Nifty closed at another record high yesterday after surging almost 1 per cent each. Most sectors did well across different market caps with the Nifty midcap and small-cap indexes closing higher too.


Deal With It...Later

Old telephone

So all the news and rumours about Vodafone Idea receiving government support turned out to be true.

But it’s not only VI that’s getting this support, all telecom companies are.

India’s Telecom Minister yesterday announced new measures on AGR, spectrum, foreign direct investment in telecom and a moratorium on dues to the government.

The one announcement that is likely to help VI immediately is that telecom companies have been given a 4-year moratorium to repay dues to the government. This starts from October the 1st, and companies that opt for it will have to pay only the interest amount for 4 years. Interestingly, the government is willing to take this interest payment in the form of equity as well. 

Other important announcements made yesterday include:

  • 100% Foreign Direct Investment in telecom will be allowed through automatic route, up from 49% allowed right now.
  • Spectrum holding duration to be extended to 30 years from 20 years currently. Companies will also be able to surrender spectrum after 10 years in case there's a tech change.
  • The definition of AGR for telecom companies will be rationalised, and it will not include non-telecom revenues going forward.

Kumar Birla, the former Chairman of Vodafone Idea (he stepped down recently, remember?)  said these steps will go "a long way in unshackling the telecom sector".

For now, though, our guess is that VI will be happy to survive - they have 4 more years to repay the Rs 1.68 lakh crores they owe the government.


Air India - Bids Received
Air India

So yesterday was the last day for potential buyers to submit their financial bids for Air India.
The Tata Group was one of the parties to submit a bit, and the other was Ajay Singh’s SpiceJet.

Quite a contrast in terms of size between the two bidders, but the government can't be too picky now. It has already taken long enough to convince people that the airline is actually worth buying.

A third potential bidding party could have been a group of AI employees that had partnered with a Seychelles based fund, but they were disqualified back in March because they didn't meet all qualification criteria.

Ajay Singh and SpiceJet are not planning to do this alone btw. SpiceJet itself has been losing money, and so it was a bit surprising to see their name as one of the bidders. But as it turns out they too have a foreign fund as a partner in the investment.

The gov is probably desperate to get rid of AI by now, after multiple failed attempts in the past. The sale will also add a useful chunk of money to help meet the budget deficit for this financial year. The target for disinvestment in this fiscal year is Rs 1.75 lakh crores, let's see how much Air India can contribute.


Tech Snippets

In Da Club

We've got another startup entering the club.. you know the one.
The unicorn club!!
This time it's the gaming startup MPL, making it the 26th Indian unicorn of 2021.

MPL has just raised $150 million and is now valued at $2.3 billion.
MPL nearly made the club back in Feb of this year, when they had raised money at a $945 million valuation.

All you cricket fans have probably heard of MPL. If you haven't, we'd have to say your observation skills need some work - they are our Indian cricket team's official kit and merchandise sponsor!

MPL is not just into cricket fantasy games. While that is a massively popular part of their offerings, but it is just that, a part of their offerings.

They have tons of other games like pool, chess and several quiz games too! And they've recently started expanding into esports as well, with them organizing tournaments across the country.

Post their previous funding round in Feb, they talked about expanding internationally, particularly to the US. And they've executed their plan, as they entered the US market in July. Next on their list are plans to become a "super app" for gaming - the one app to rule all your gaming requirements.

Only time will tell whether they are able to deliver on that.

Making Acquisitions PharmEasy

Pharmeasy, take it easy Pharmeasy(you thought of that too, right?) is most definitely not taking it easy.

They've acquired the hospital supply chain management startup Aknamed.

The rumoured price is a cool $180-$190 million and it's most likely an all-stock deal.

Aknamed is used for procurement by some of India's largest hospital chains like Manipal Hospitals, Columbia Asia and Narayana Health.
As you'd expect with a global pandemic, business has been booming for them over the past year - their monthly revenue run rate grew 10x in FY21.

Pharmeasy has been making some serious moves.
First, they started by merging with Medlife to take on all the incoming competition in the medicine delivery space.
Then they went out and acquired the diagnostics chain Thryocare.
And now Aknamed.

All these acquisitions are geared towards what seems to be their strategy of becoming a broader online healthcare firm.
Some might even say the super app for Healthcare 😜

Pharmeasy's parent company API holdings will be filing for an IPO sometime soon, we are really intrigued to take a look under the hood.

TrueCaller IPO

Talking about IPOs, Truecaller is going public soon.

With how popular Truecaller is in India you might have thought Truecaller is an Indian startup. But it is actually Swedish.
India is its biggest market in terms of users. And considering the number of spammy calls we get here in India, this is not surprising.

They'll be listing in Sweden only where they'll be looking to raise $116 million.

On a Lighter Note

If you have more time ...

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