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Competition Comm clears USD 16 billion Walmart-Flipkart deal

Akhilesh Bhargava

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New Delhi  |   The Competition Commission said it has cleared US retail giant Walmart’s proposed acquisition of Flipkart, a deal estimated to be worth USD 16 billion.

The approval comes less than three months after the announcement of the mega-deal, which is also being opposed by various trade organisations.

In May, Walmart announced the acquisition of a 77 percent stake of Flipkart in its biggest takeover till date.

“@CCI_India approves proposed acquisition of Flipkart Private Limited by Wal-Mart International Holdings, Inc,” the regulator said in a tweet.

Mergers and acquisitions beyond a certain threshold require the approval of the Competition Commission of India (CCI).

Welcoming the regulator’s decision, Walmart said it remains committed to contributing to the Indian economy by supporting smallholder farmers, manufacturers, and its Kirana customers.

“Flipkart is a prominent player in India with a strong, entrepreneurial leadership team that is a good cultural fit with Walmart.

“We believe that the combination of Walmart’s global expertise and Flipkart will position us for long-term success and enable us to contribute to the economic growth,” it said.

In a statement, Flipkart Holding welcomed the CCI’s decision. “… by combining Walmart’s global expertise with our leadership position and Indian ethos, we believe we are positioned for long-term success and contribution to the Indian economy and society,” it added.

Traders’ body CAIT, which has been opposed to the deal, described the CCI approval as “most unfortunate” and said it would approach the court against the decision.

In June, more than 100 trader organisations opposed the deal stating it will cause “irreversible damage” to small traders and endanger jobs for thousands.

As per the notice submitted to the CCI, the acquisition of a majority stake in Flipkart will be done through Wal-Mart International Holdings.

The proposed transaction would be effected pursuant to the share purchase agreement and the share issuance and acquisition agreement entered into on May 9 by and among Walmart’s subsidiary and Flipkart, the notice said.

In June, Walmart said that it expects to close the deal this year.

“In May 2018, the company announced it will pay approximately USD 16 billion in exchange for approximately 77 percent of the outstanding shares of Flipkart Group (Flipkart). The investment includes USD 2 billion of new equity funding.

“…closing is expected later this calendar year, and is subject to regulatory approval,” the American retail major had said in a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The US India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) said the deal is good for India as a whole.

The deal will strengthen the agriculture supply chain and create new skilled jobs, supporting the ‘Make in India’ initiative, USISPF President and CEO Mukesh Aghi said in a statement.

Walmart is a USISPF member.

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Rupee softens 9 paise against US dollar in early trade

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Rupee

Mumbai | The rupee weakened by 9 paise to 73.92 against the US dollar in early trade on Tuesday on increased demand for the American currency from banks and importers.

At the Interbank Foreign Exchange, the domestic currency opened higher at 73.79 but lost ground and fell to 73.92. Dealers attributed the rupee’s fall to the dollar’s strength against some other currencies overseas but fresh inflows by foreign funds and a higher opening in domestic equity markets capped the losses.

Moreover, weak exports data also dampened sentiments in the forex market. India’s exports entered the negative zone after five months, contracting 2.15 percent in September to USD 27.95 billion, according to commerce ministry data.

The rupee had lost 26 paise to close at 73.83 Monday after crude prices rose amid intensifying geopolitical tensions. The benchmark BSE Sensex Tuesday rose by 89.17 points, or 0.26 percent to trade at 34,954.27.

Meanwhile, foreign portfolio investors bought shares worth Rs 67.86 crore on net basis from stock markets on Monday, according to the BSE data.

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Rupee falls 36 paise to 73.93 against dollar in early trade

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Rupee

Mumbai | The rupee dropped 36 paise to 73.93 against the US currency in early trade on Monday, breaking its three-day recovery trend, as crude prices rose amid weak macroeconomic data.

A spurt in dollar demand from importers amid sustained foreign fund outflows also weighed on the rupee. Dealers said, factors like the dollar’s strength against some other currencies overseas and a volatile opening of the equity markets also impacted the domestic currency.

Industrial production slipped to a three-month low of 4.3 per cent in August and retail inflation rose marginally to 3.77 per cent in September, according to the data released by Central Statistics Office Friday. Friday, the rupee had ended 55 paise higher at 73.57 against the dollar, as global crude prices eased and domestic indices staged a smart rebound.

Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) sold shares to the tune of Rs 1,322 crore Friday, provisional data showed. The benchmark BSE Sensex fell by 70.85 points, or 0.20 per cent, to 34,662.73 in early trade after crossing the key 35,000-mark to hit a high of 35,008.65 at the outset.

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Sensex slips 71 points on negative economic data, weak rupee

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Sensex

Mumbai | The BSE benchmark Sensex after reclaiming the 35,000-mark fell 71 points to quote at 34,662.73 Monday, as the IIP slipped to a three-month low in August and retail inflation rose marginally in September. Besides, weak Asian cues on worries over China-Us trade dispute influenced sentiment.

The 30-share barometer pushed lower by 70.85 points, or 0.20 per cent, to 34,662.73. It opened higher and touched a high of 35,008.65. The gauge had climbed 732.43 points in the previous session on Friday.

Sectoral indices were negative across the board, with oil&gas, auto, consumer durables, PSU, bankex, capital goods, metal, infrastructure and realty falling by up to 1.25 per cent. The NSE index Nifty was trading lower by 21.85 points, or 0.21 per cent, at 10,450.65 after shuttling between 10,524.60 and 10,432.

Selling activity emerged after data released by Central Statistics Office (CSO) on Friday showed that industrial production slipped to a three-month low of 4.3 per cent in August, while retail inflation up marginally to 3.77 per cent in September. Meanwhile, the rupee depreciated by 36 paise paise to 73.93 against the dollar in early trade after Brent crude again went past the USD 81 a barrel, which also dampened sentiments.

Hindustan Unilever, emerged top loser in the Sensex pack, falling 3.28 per cent, followed by ICICI Bank at 2.46 per cent.

Other big losers that dragged both the key indices were Maruti Suzuki, Axis Bank, L&T, Bharti Airtel, Bajaj Auto, PowerGrid, Kotak Bank, Coal India, Adani Ports, Asian Paint, HDFC Ltd, SBI, Vedanta Ltd and Tata Steel. However, stocks of Sun Pharma, ITC LGd, TCS, Infosys, RIL and Wipro were trading higher.

Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) gave up shares worth a net of Rs 1,322 crore, while Domestic institutional investors (DIIs) remained net buyers, picking up shares worth a net of Rs 1,287 crore on Friday, provisional data showed.Most other Asian markets too were down on trade war worries and surging crude prices following rising diplomatic tensions between Riyadh and the West.

Japan’s Nikkei fell 1.39 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 1.30 per cent, Taiwan was down 1.10 per cent in their early deals. Shanghai Composite Index, however, was flat. The US Dow Jones Industrial Average had closed 1.15 per cent higher on Friday.

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