Companies & Sectors
Competition Commission approves Birla group's stake buy in Living Media

The CCI while approving the deal observed that both Aditya Birla group and India Today Group are engaged in the retail business, but the transaction is not likely to have an appreciable adverse effect on competition in India

 
New Delhi: Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Tuesday said it has approved Aditya Birla group's purchase of 27.5% stake in Living Media India Ltd, the holding firm of media giant India Today Group, reports PTI.
 
The stake is being purchased through IGH Holdings Private Ltd, an investment company of industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla-led business conglomerate. The two groups had announced this transaction earlier in May this year.
 
In its order, dated 14th August and made public today, CCI observed that both Aditya Birla group and India Today Group are engaged in the retail business, but the transaction "is not likely to have an appreciable adverse effect on competition in India", and therefore it has approved the deal.
 
The CCI said it received an application for its approval to the deal on 18th June, after which it had sought certain information and documents from IGH Holdings.
 
The proposed transaction involves an initial acquisition of 24.9% stake in Living Media India by IGH and an additional purchase of 2.6% stake, resulting into a total purchase of 27.5% equity.
 
The companies said in their applications to CCI that the said purchase of shares of Living Media by IGH may go up to a maximum of 49%, and the proposed acquisitions and valuation adjustments should be completed within six months from the end of the financial year 2015-16.
 
As per the CCI order, the companies had further said that the initial purchase of 24.9% stake and the subsequent acquisitions, including the purchases due to valuation adjustments, are inter-related and inter-dependent and the CCI approval has been sought for the proposed acquisition of equity shareholding of up to 49% of Living Media by IGH Holdings.
 
As per the details provided by the companies to CCI, there are certain conditions precedent in the share subscription and purchase agreement (SSPA) which related to certain transfer to and from Living Media, pursuant to which some businesses of Living Media, including Thomson Press (India), its subsidiaries and some other businesses would be hived off.
 
After such transfers, the subsidiaries and associate firms of Livin Media would include TV Today Network, ITAS Media, Today Retail Network, Today Merchandise, Harper Collins, Mail Today Newspapers, India Today Online, Universal Learn Today, Integrated Databases India and Automotive Exchange Pvt Ltd.
 
After the transaction, IGH would have certain statutory rights in Living Media, along with the contractual rights of the shareholders agreement.
 

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Life Exclusive
Gen-Y sees totally cashless shopping coming, says survey

A Visa survey found that eight in 10 Millennials believe that they will one day be able to do all their shopping and bill payments online, while 73% believe this will be possible with a mobile phone

 

Thriving on a diet of online shopping, mobile banking and virtual games, young generation or Gen-Y believes that in future, new technology will allow them to dispense with cash totally, says a survey.

 

The research was conducted between June and July 2011 and more than 5,500 Millennials from across 11 countries including mainland China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan and the UAE were interviewed by Visa.

 

According to Visa’s “Connecting with the Millennials” study, which featured interviews with over 5,500 young people across Asia, Russia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), eight in 10 Millennials believe that they will one day be able to do all their shopping and bill payments online, while 73% believe this will be possible with a mobile phone. Visa defines ‘Millennials’ as those born between 1981 and 1991 and aged between 18 and 28 years at the time the survey was conducted.

We believe the Millennials play a significant role in boosting electronic payments in India: they have an active digital lifestyle and are constantly embracing new payments technologies. At Visa, we see mobile/online payments as a game changer and are providing the Indian Gen-Y with advanced and robust electronic payments technology to drive growth towards a cashless and a more efficient environment," says Uttam Nayak, Group Country Manager for India and South Asia, Visa.

 

According to the survey, a high proportion of Indian Millennials have an active digital life today and use their personal computer or laptop extensively for internet banking, online shopping, and bill payments. “Online shopping is becoming increasingly popular among young Indian consumers—they spend about 16% of their monthly disposable income online. Among those who purchase online, four in 10 make online purchases at least monthly, indicating a healthy appetite to buy online. However, 24% of the Millennials prefer cash on delivery as the most preferred payment method for online purchases, followed by debit card which is preferred by 21%," the survey said.
 

Debit cards are a preferred mode of payment for four out of every 10 Indian Millennials, and 47% prefer using it for high value payments of over Rs1,000. This shows a strong opportunity for growth of debit cards in the country in general.

 

The survey also identified an increasing inclination of Millennials towards electronic payment methods. 71% of the respondents look for security over convenience, acceptance, and flexibility when comparing different payment methods. The ability to pay after banking hours, usage while making unplanned purchases, maximizing rewards program, getting discounts and the convenience they provide over cash are the key drivers motivating the Millennials to use credit cards.

 

Interestingly, 38% of the Indian respondents who did not already own a payment card at the time of survey cited having a strong desire to own one in the near future, whereas 33% showed interest in owning a debit card and 24% in owning a prepaid card in the future.

 

Despite the steady growth of electronic payments in India, high inclination towards usage of cash is still seen as a key barrier in growth of non case transactions. According to the survey, Millennials still pay for 56% of the total expenses by cash. This is mostly true for payments of low-value products. Issues like low acceptance, uncomfortable for small purchases, apprehensions around mischarges and safety are among some of the barriers.

 

The future holds an enormous opportunity especially for mobile payments and online payments in India as 76% of the Indian Millennials wish that they could make all their payments using their mobile phone and 79% wish they would be able to make all purchases and pay all bills online, hence, driving the move towards a cashless future, says the survey.

 

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HUDCO re-enters home loan lending with most competitive rates

HUDCO is offering home loans at a floating rate of 10.2% for loans up to Rs25 lakh, which is marginally lower than SBI's 10.25% interest for home loans of up to Rs30 lakh

 
Mumbai: State-run Housing and Urban Development Corp (HUDCO) on Tuesday said it has restarted lending for home purchases by launching a competitively priced product, reports PTI.
 
The corporation, mandated with affordable housing and urban development, will be offering home loans at a floating rate of 10.2% for loans up to Rs25 lakh, its regional office in the city said in a statement.
 
The interest rate on the product is better than the 10.25% currently charged by the country's largest lender State Bank of India, also the market leader in the segment with one of the most aggressive pricing, for home loans of up to Rs30 lakh.
 
"This makes it the most competitive home loan product available for salaried individuals in the major capital cities of India," the statement said.
 
The HUDCO statement said it will also offer other features like free personal accident insurance, no charges before sanction, and no pre-payment charges, which are offered by a host of players.
 
The home loan lending was frozen since May 2011 and has been re-started on 15th August, an official said, without giving the reasons for either the closure or restarting.
 
Additionally, HUDCO will not charge any processing fee till the sanction of the loan, unlike some commercial lenders who charge upfront, the official said.
 

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