Judge approves Facebook settlement

Facebook reached a $20 million settlement agreement in the US. Under the agreement, Facebook can still post users’ content in ads but will give users more control over how their content is used

Facebook users included in sponsored stories on the social networking site who filed claims will receive $15 each as part of a $20 million settlement agreement approved by a federal judge this week.

Under terms of the class action lawsuit settlement approved by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Seeborg Monday, Facebook payouts will also go to attorneys and organizations involved in consumer privacy issues.

The settlement stems from a class action lawsuit filed in California by five users in 2011 who said Facebook shared their “likes’’ of certain advertisers without their consent in the form of sponsored stories. Facebook earned about $73 million in profits from the sponsored stories, or 60 cents per user included in the ads, according to court papers.

Some advocates objected to the agreement, saying it didn’t go far enough to prevent Facebook from engaging in the same conduct in the future, still doesn’t have sufficient protections for minors, and doesn’t sufficiently award users.

Under the agreement, Facebook can still post users’ content in ads but will give users more control over how their content is used. Children have to opt out if they don’t want to be used in Facebook’s sponsored stories, instead of being automatically excluded as some consumer advocates had sought.

Judge Seeborg said the plaintiffs in the case faced a hurdle of proving harm from the sponsored stories. He wrote:

Going forward, operation of the Sponsored Stories program will be more transparent, and Facebook users will have a greater ability to see how and when their activities result in generation of Sponsored Stories, and to limit recurrences. The minor subclass, and parents of minors, will have further opt-out options. The injunctive relief, while not as robust as some would prefer, contributes to the conclusion that the settlement as a whole is fair, reasonable, and adequate.

Read more here about social networking sites and user content.



Lupin not affected by slowdown in India

Given the benefits of a weaker rupee and robust US pipeline, Lupin will not see any adverse effect on its earnings during FY14, says Nomura

Slowdown in India during the FY14F, is unlikely to have a material impact on earnings of Lupin given the benefits of the weaker rupee and robust US pipeline, says Nomura Financial Advisory and Securities (India) Pvt Ltd in a research note.


Nomura, following a meeting with Nilesh Gupta, managing director (designate) of Lupin, said the company does not expect market dynamics to change materially with changes in regulations and price controls.


According to management of Lupin, the industry is facing challenges in the near term due to the implementation of the new pricing policy in India. There is a tussle with the trade as they are not accepting lower margins on NLEM (National List of Essential Medicines) products proposed by the pharma companies. The industry as of now is not relenting but the issue is likely to be resolved in the near term.


Nomura said, the company management expects to sustain sales growth in the generic business at over 20% in the near to medium term. As per the company, the base is still low and hence growth is not a challenge. The management expects to maintain sales/ANDA as in the past.


In the US market, which is the most important driver of growth, Lupin expects to launch 15-20 products during FY14. The key launches for FY14 include Zymaxid, Trizivir, Niaspan, Lutera and Yaz. Zymaxid’s approval and launch is expected by management in the near term. For Trizivir, a district court decision is likely in the near term as per the company.


According to Nomura, the attrition in the sales force for Lupin is less of a problem today. It is currently at 15%-20%, compared to around 30% two years ago. The growth prospects from a longer-term viewpoint remains. The smaller players in the market place face bigger challenges but Lupin does not see that resulting in inorganic consolidation in the near term.


TCS sees better margins due to rupee depreciation, says Nomura

According to Nomura, TCS expects the bulk of rupee depreciation benefits to flow through to margins in second quarter of FY14F, given that depreciation has been too sharp too soon

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), India’s largest software company sees revenue growth during FY14 on better pick up in project-based business in the US. The company expects the bulk of rupee depreciation benefits to flow through to margins in 2QFY14F, given that depreciation has been too sharp too soon, says Nomura Financial Advisory and Securities (India) Pvt Ltd, in a report.


Nomura says, TCS expects FY14F revenue growth to be better than constant-currency (CC) growth achieved in FY13. In FY13, the company grew about 16% in CC terms and 13.7% in USD terms. However, the company does not expect runaway growth in FY14F.


According to the report, over the long term, TCS continues to see increased consolidation of the industry, with market share gains from local and regional players.  “TCS categorizes discretionary demand as the more project-based business, and it sees a broad-based improvement on this type of business in the US. However, in Europe, demand remains dominated by traditional outsourcing deals. The improvement in demand on project-based business in the US is driven by clients moving from a cost-reduction to a growth-oriented mindset, with decision-making focussed on increasing competitiveness, driving growth, and creating differentiation. Absence of a cost-cutting mindset and a shift to a growth-oriented mindset could reflect in better budgeting in FY15F, in the company’s view,” says Nomura.


In terms of market segments, which show promise for TCS, the Tata group company continues to see stronger growth in retail and manufacturing and in smaller underpenetrated verticals such as energy & utilities and healthcare. Banking financial services and insurance (BFSI) would largely decide the company’s average growth, and telecom could be softer, the research note says.


According to Nomura, over the longer term, the company will decide on the proportion of benefits to be reinvested on driving a higher growth by (a) increasing sales spends, (b) chasing deals with front-loaded transition costs, and (c) geographical expansion. Nomura analysts hasten to add that while rupee depreciation could provide some near-term quick wins, the market is likely to adjust itself to the new INR situation.


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