From the brink to recovery, India’s retail sector pins hope on 2021

With an epic battle of billionaires for supremacy in one of the world’s most prolific markets and a pandemic-propelled surge in online shopping in the background, India’s nearly trillion-dollar retail market is hoping to touch 85 per cent of the pre-COVID business in the first half of the new year.

In a year when the COVID-19 carnage ripped apart the retail business, circa 2020 will best go down for the unravelling of the war between Jeff Bezos, the world’s wealthiest man, and richest Indian Mukesh Ambani for pre-eminence in the booming market that is estimated to reach USD 1.3 trillion by 2025.

It all started with Ambani’s Reliance Industries agreeing in August to buy assets of the nation’s second-largest retailer for Rs 24,713 crore, just a year after Bezos’ Amazon purchased an indirect stake in the indebted Future Retail. Amazon opposed the deal, claiming it violates Future Group’s investment agreement with it.

Since then, the story has been playing out in Singapore and Indian courts, and the outcome may shape India’s retail landscape for years to come.

Amazon’s success will slow Reliance’s plans to expand its e-commerce

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Reliance Capital raises objection to PFL stake sale by Credit Suisse

Debt-ridden firm on Monday raised objection to the proposed 33.12 per cent stake sale of Prime Focus (PFL) by to PFL’s promoter group at ~44.15 per share.

Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group company termed the proposed transaction as a blatant abuse of the purported rights by under certain lending agreements with the RCAP Group, the company said in a statement.

However, did not share the details of the “blatant abuse of the purported rights”.

Reliance Mediaworks Financial Services Private Limited, an RCAP Group company, is one of the investors in PFL — promoted by Naresh Malhotra and Namit Malhotra.

Reliance Mediaworks holds 10.57 per cent stake in the PFL.

The company’s statement further alleged that the proposed sale is being attempted privately and clandestinely between 2 foreign entities, without any open, fair and transparent process being conducted to realise the true value of the shares and disregarding basic norms of conflict of interest.

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In Final Days, A Weakened Trump Faces First Veto Override

Donald Trump, after caving to pressure and signing a $900 billion coronavirus relief package, faces another potential humiliation this week with Congress poised to deliver the first veto override of his waning presidency.

A two-thirds majority of those voting is needed in the 435-member House of Representatives and 100-seat Senate to strike down Trump’s veto of the fiscal 2021 defense bill.

The $740.5 billion National Defense Authorization Act was passed this month by 335 votes to 78 in the Democratic-controlled House and by 84 to 13 in the Republican-majority Senate.

But the NDAA was vetoed by the president because it did not repeal Section 230, a federal law that provides liability protection to internet companies.

Trump also opposed a provision that would strip several US military bases of the names of generals who fought for the secessionist, pro-slavery South in the 1861-65 US Civil War.

US President Donald Trump is facing a potential congressional override of his veto of the defense bill

The House is to vote to override Trump’s veto later Monday and Democrats are optimistic they have enough Republican support to do so. The Senate could take up the matter later this week.


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