Mubadala Of Abu Dhabi Is In Talks On $1 Bn Stake In Jio Platforms: Sources- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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Abu Dhabi state fund Mubadala is in talks with Reliance Industries (RELI.NS) about investing around $1 billion in the Indian conglomerate’s Jio platforms, three sources told Reuters.
“Clearly Jio’s platform is attracting a wide range of world-class investors, given its enormous potential to serve one of the world’s largest marketplaces,” Mubadala said in an email, without confirming whether or not talks were taking place.
Due diligence on a potential transaction with Reliance was already underway, one of the sources said.
If it goes ahead, the Jio Platforms investment would be the largest in an Indian firm by Mubadala, which is the second-biggest state investor in Abu Dhabi after Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), managing about $240 billion in assets.
Reliance and Twitter did not respond.
Jio Platforms has so far already agreed to sell a combined stake of just over 17% through five separate deals with Facebook (FB.O), which spent $5.7 billion on 9.99%, the first to announce its investment in April.
While talks may be taking place with multiple parties, deals may not necessarily materialize and any terms may change, a fourth source, who is familiar with Reliance’s strategy, said.
All four sources declined to be identified because the talks are private.
Reliance plans to wrap up a bulk of the private fundraising by the third quarter of 2020 and then explore a potential public listing in the United States in 2021, one of the sources said.
Both Morgan Stanley (MS.N) and Goldman Sachs (GS.N) are in talks with Reliance about a possible Jio Platforms IPO mandate, the source added.
Reliance executives visited the United States in February to meet potential investors and bankers and it was looking for a valuation of $90 billion to $95 billion, the source said.
However, the source familiar with Reliance’s strategy said that an overseas listing could still be a long way off and that the company had no immediate need for funds after the recent investments in Jio Platforms.
Before making any decision Reliance would also need to have clarity on rules governing direct overseas listings for Indian companies, which are still being formulated by the government.
Global tech firms prefer listing in the U.S. as it provides companies with greater liquidity and wider access to capital.
Such a deal would help boost Jio Platform’s credentials and provide an exit for some of the big investors that have agreed to invest in it, including private equity firms KKR (KKR.N), General Atlantic, Silver Lake and Vista Equity Partners.
India’s Mint newspaper reported on Thursday that Microsoft is also in talks to buy 2.5% of Jio Platforms for $2 billion.
Talks between Reliance and Microsoft had been on since the two companies announced a cloud computing tie-up last year, a fifth source told Reuters.
Reliance is looking to sell roughly 20% of Jio Platforms through all the private placement deals, the source added.
Morgan Stanley declined to comment, while Microsoft, Goldman Sachs did not respond to requests for comment.

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Google explores 5% stake in struggling Vodafone Idea: Report- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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In what could alter the Indian telecom scenario, Google is reportedly exploring to buy a 5 per cent stake in financially-stressed Vodafone Idea, a move that would not only pit Sundar Pichai-led tech giant against Facebook which has poured in Rs 43,574 crore for 9.99 per cent stake in Reliance-led Jio Platforms but also help struggling Vodafone stand up in the world’s fastest growing mobile market.
According to a report in the Financial Times, people familiar with the matter said Google is exploring an investment in Vodafone’s struggling India business.
“One of the people said Google was considering buying a stake of about 5 per cent in Vodafone Idea, a partnership between the UK telecom company and India’s Aditya Birla Group that has been under severe financial strain. Another said the process was at a very early stage,” the report claimed.
Both Google and Vodafone did not comment on the report.
According to the report, Google’s parent company Alphabet was also in the race to acquire a slice of Jio Platforms but lagged behind.
“Pursuing Vodafone Idea instead would potentially pit Google against Facebook and an increasingly dominant Jio but the company could also make multiple investments in India,” the FT report mentioned.
According to Prabhu Ram, Head-Industry Intelligence Group, CMR, Google is interested in buying a 5 per cent stake in Vodafone Idea to give impetus to its India push.
“India is the fastest growing mobile-first nation, with significant digital transformation at its core. Also, the move may be to take on the Facebook-backed Jio behemoth,” Ram said in a statement.
Late last month, the Supreme Court gave partial relief to Vodafone Idea by allowing for a tax refund of Rs 733 crore to the telecom operator. Vodafone Idea had sought a refund of Rs 4,700 crore.
The company has over Rs 53,000 crore in Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR)-related dues, according to an estimate by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
In a big relief for telecom operators, the DoT in March moved the Supreme Court seeking its approval for a 20-year window for payment of around Rs 1.47 lakh crore AGR dues, as adverse functioning of the telecom firms could have a negative impact on the economy and consumers across the country.
In a regulatory filing, Vodafone Idea earlier paid a sum of Rs 2,500 crore on February 17, 2020 and a further sum of Rs 1,000 crore on February 20 towards the AGR liability.
“The company has paid a further amount of Rs 3,354 crore to the DoT, being the balance part of the principal amount towards AGR liability. Thus the company has paid the full principal amount of Rs 6,854 crore towards the AGR dues,” it had said.
According to Vodafone Idea’s own assessment, its AGR dues stand at Rs 21,533 crore and the principal amount out of the total dues is Rs 6,854 crore. However, according to the DoT’s estimate, the company’s overall dues stand at Rs 53,000 crore.
On the other hand, the behemoth Jio Platforms has an equity value of Rs 4.91 lakh crore and an enterprise value of Rs 5.16 lakh crore.
Over the last month, leading technology investors such as Facebook, Silver Lake, Vista, General Atlantic and KKR have announced aggregate investments of Rs 78,562 crore into Jio Platforms.

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Airtel buys 10% stake in conversational AI startup Voicezen- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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Bharti Airtel has said that it has acquired a 10 per cent stake in Voicezen, an early stage startup focused on conversational AI technologies. The acquisition has been made by the company under its fast expanding Airtel Startup Accelerator Programme, the company said in regulatory filing.
“Acquisition of the equity shares of investee company is done at mutually agreed pre money enterprise valuation. The said valuation is not disclosed herein due to reasons of confidentiality,” it said.
Gurugram-based Voicezen has been working on developing advanced solutions that leverage machine learning, AI, speech to text and voice technologies to offer real time analytics to help brands serve customers better.
“The investment will give Airtel preferred access to Voicezen’s technologies, which can be deployed across its customer touch points in multiple languages. These intelligent solutions will offer real time analytics and insights to make Airtel’s conversations with its customers more engaging and frictionless and enable faster resolution. It will also allow Airtel to make contextual offers to customers based on real time conversations,” the filing said.
Voicezen is the third startup to become a part of the Airtel Startup Accelerator Programme.
Adarsh Nair, Chief Product Officer, Bharti Airtel said: “Voicezen has built some promising products that are very relevant for a market like India. As part of its strategy to deliver a highly differentiated service experience to its customers, Bharti Airtel has acquired a strategic stake in Voicezen, an early stage start-up focused on conversational AI technologies.”
Apurba Nath, Founder of Voicezen, said that the startup helps brands deliver a better customer experience in Indian languages using ‘Conversational AI’. “Having worked on AI solutions in the past, Voicezen knew what works well in a lab most often doesn’t work in the real world, because either the training data is not large and relevant or the problem has little business significance,” he added.
“Our partnership with Airtel helps us solve these challenges. With this strategic investment, we will work even more closely with them to continuously improve our AI models and build out an enterprise grade, battle hardened product that will make customer interactions more efficient, especially in this post-Covid world where business operations are facing large disruptions,” he said.

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Telstra to book $300m Foxtel stake impairment charge – Finance- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Telstra expects to recognise an impairment charge of about $300 million against its investment in a 35 percent stake in the Foxtel joint venture with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.
Telstra’s decision follows the write down in value of the pay TV operator by News Corp a few hours earlier.
“Foxtel has been facing industry disruption for several years and the COVID pandemic is obviously having an impact as global sports are put on hold, pubs are temporarily closed, and advertisers are forced to carefully reconsider their investments,” Telstra CEO Andrew Penn said in a statement.
News Corp said earlier in its statement it recognised non-cash impairment charges of US$931 million ($1.4 billion) related to the goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets at Foxtel during the third quarter.
It said that in fiscal 2020 it anticipates 35 percent to 40 percent reduction in capital expenditure at Foxtel.
Telstra said the impairment charge is expected to write down the value of its share in Foxtel to about $450 million from $750 million.
The expected non-cash impairment charge will not affect its FY20 results on a guidance basis, Telstra added.

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Uber banks on two-wheeled future with $170m stake in Lime scooter rental firm | Technology – Blog – 10 minute

Uber made a $170m bet on Thursday that as the coronavirus pandemic upends its business, two wheels may be better than four.

The ride-sharing business has partnered with Alphabet, Google’s parent, and Bain Capital Ventures to invest the money in Lime, an electric scooter and bike rental company.
Under the deal Uber will transfer Jump, its own electric bike and scooter division, to Lime and the companies will integrate their apps.
The news comes as Uber has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic. On Wednesday the company announced it was axing 3,700 staff and that its chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, would forgo his base salary for the rest of the year.
Uber’s gross bookings have fallen 80% since the pandemic triggered a wave of quarantine measures around the world, according to a report from the tech website the Information.
It is the latest “sharing economy” company to be hit hard. AirBnB also announced plans to make 1,900 staff redundant this week, about a quarter of its global workforce, after customers cancelled travel plans during the pandemic.
Three-year-old Lime now operates in 120 cities across more than 30 countries. It too has been hit by Covid 19. The company laid off 80 employees, or 13% of its staff, in April due to the pandemic’s impact on the business.
“Almost overnight, our company went from being on the eve of accomplishing an unprecedented milestone, the first next-generation micromobility company to reach profitability, to one where we had to pause operations in 99% of our markets worldwide to support cities’ efforts at social distancing,” wrote Lime’s chief executive, Brad Bao.
Bao will become chairman of Lime. Lime’s new chief executive, Wayne Ting, predicted that bike and scooter rentals would become integral to city transportation as the world recovers from the pandemic.
“Micromobility will be vital to the new world affected by Covid-19 and we are already seeing this as cities begin to move again. With our new financing and expanded offerings, we are strongly positioned to meet the needs of riders in a safe and reliable way,” he said.

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Tencent buys 5 percent stake in Australian buy-now-pay-later firm Afterpay – Finance – Software- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Chinese gaming and social media group Tencent Holdings has bought a 5 percent stake in Afterpay Ltd, the Australian buy-now-pay-later firm said on Friday.
Tencent’s shareholding in the Australian firm was worth about A$390 million (US$251.55 million), based on Afterpay shares’ closing level on Friday.
The Chinese tech giant, which owns stakes in video game companies Riot Games and Supercell and has exposure to food delivery and e-commerce verticals, said had said earlier this year earlier this year it would focus more on smart retail and payment platforms in the future.
Its instant messaging platform WeChat also allows users to make payments and book flights and hotels.
“Afterpay’s approach stands out to us not just for its attractive business model characteristics, but also because its service aligns so well with consumer trends,” Tencent Chief Strategy Officer James Mitchell said.
Buy-now-pay-later service providers have gained popularity, mainly with millennials, as they allow payment for goods through interest-free installments, helping customers sidestep stringent rules associated with getting a credit card or loan.
Melbourne-based Afterpay has also grown its customer base considerably in the United States, which is proving to be a key market as it taps the influential but largely nascent region.
Tencent’s stake in Afterpay was built from the end of March through April, a filing to the Australian Securities Exchange showed.
($1 = 1.5504 Australian dollars)

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Microsoft to divest AnyVision stake, end face recognition investing – Finance- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Microsoft on Friday said it would sell its stake in AnyVision, an Israeli facial recognition startup, and said it no longer would make minority investments in companies that sell the controversial technology.
The decision marks a policy change for the Redmond, Washington-based software maker, which has aimed to shape how the technology industry approaches facial recognition.
Microsoft has laid out principles to guide its own development of the technology, saying it should perform without bias and must not impinge on democratic freedoms.
Civil liberties groups have said police use of facial recognition could lead to unfair, arbitrary arrests and limit freedom of expression.
Microsoft came under scrutiny last summer for participating in a US$74 million funding round for AnyVision, which critics said contradicted the company’s principles.
AnyVision, based outside Tel Aviv, came under scrutiny following media reports that its technology was used to surveil Palestinians who lived in the occupied West Bank.
Microsoft later hired former US Attorney General Eric Holder and a team from Covington & Burling to investigate the claims.
The law firm found that AnyVision’s technology was in use at checkpoints in border crossings between Israel and the West Bank – as the startup had said – but that it had not fueled a mass surveillance program there, according to a copy of the audit’s findings posted on the website of M12, Microsoft’s venture fund.
Even so, Microsoft said that as a result of the probe it decided to exit the business of investing in facial recognition startups altogether.
“For Microsoft, the audit process reinforced the challenges of being a minority investor in a company that sells sensitive technology, since such investments do not generally allow for the level of oversight or control that Microsoft exercises over the use of its own technology,” Microsoft and AnyVision said in a joint statement posted on M12’s website.
Microsoft did not have a timeline to share for when the divestment will occur and who will buy its stake, a spokesman said. It was not immediately clear if other M12 investments were impacted by the policy change.
AnyVision did not immediately comment.
While Microsoft has turned down some facial recognition sales on human rights grounds, such as declining a deal for the capital city of a country that nonprofit Freedom House said was not free, it continues to develop the software for other commercial and public sector uses.
Microsoft said there was no change to its internal work on facial recognition.

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Facebook Likely To Acquire 10 Percent Stake in Reliance Jio- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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As per reports, Facebook is likely to acquire a stake in Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm, as per a national publication. The report said that social media giant, Facebook was about to close to an initial agreement to pick up a 10 percent stake. However, discussions hadn’t really moved forward, due to the global disruption of the Covid-19 outbreak. 
According to the national publication, Google had been talking to Jio separately. Last year, Microsoft had said that last year it would be providing cloud computing services to businesses with Jio. It’s not a secret that India is the biggest market for Facebook with around 328 million monthly users; additionally, Facebook-owned WhatsApp messaging app has around 400 million users in India. 
At present, Reliance Jio commands a subscriber base of 370 million in India. Renowned analysts at Bernstein say that Reliance Jio’s valuation is more than $60 billion now. Operations at Reliance Jio first began in September 2016. When it first began, Jio had started a price war in the Indian telecom sector by offering 4G at very cheap rates and voice calls free of charge. Surprisingly, now, when the AGR crisis has the telecom sector on edge, seems that Jio is in a good spot.
Read:
WHO Partners Microsoft, Facebook For Global #BuildforCovid19 Hackathon
Also, Reliance Industries has been on the lookout to become a net-debt zero company. Reliance Jio has joined hands with Microsoft to offer cloud computing services to businesses.Also, Google has been holding talks with Reliance Jio, as per the national publication. 
Last year, Reliance Industries announced plans to reconstitute Jio into a separate firm – an umbrella body for all digital businesses under the conglomerate, and also list it in the market. If this happens, then RIL would be infusing INR. 1.08 lakh crore in Jio through a rights issue. 

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Republican mega-donor buys stake in Twitter and seeks to oust Jack Dorsey – report | Technology – Blog – 10 minute

A major Republican donor has purchased a stake in Twitter and is reportedly seeking to oust its chief executive, Jack Dorsey.
Bloomberg News first reported that Elliott Management has taken a “sizable stake” and “and plans to push for changes at the social media company, including replacing Dorsey”.
Paul Singer, the billionaire founder of Elliott Management, is a Republican mega-donor who opposed Donald Trump during the real-estate magnate’s run for the presidential nomination but has since come onside.
After a White House visit in February 2017, Trump said Singer “was very much involved with the anti-Trump or, as they say, ‘Never Trump’, and Paul just left, and he’s given us his total support and it’s all about unification”.
Trump famously communicates with the public largely through Twitter, at the expense of traditional media strategy.
Twitter made headlines in October when it announced a ban on political advertising. Its use and potential manipulation by politicians of all stripes, from Trump to Democratic candidate Mike Bloomberg, remains a source of fierce contention.
Dorsey, a co-founder of Twitter, is also chief executive of Square, an online payment company. In November, he announced a plan to live and work in Africa for part of each year.
It was reported that those moves were motivations for Singer’s desire to push Dorsey out. Other stakeholders have voiced concern about Dorsey’s leadership and Twitter has seen its share price struggle, although it recently reported quarterly revenue above $1bn for the first time.
News of the Elliott stake saw Twitter’s share price rise on Friday, during general market slides in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.
Elliott Management is an activist investor, which means it regularly pushes for change in companies in which it buys shares.
Singer has even taken on whole countries: in 2016, after a relentless campaign, he secured a partial repayment of debts by Argentina, arising from its financial collapse in the early 2000s.
Neither Elliott nor Twitter immediately offered comment.

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CBA triples its equity stake in credit card killer Klarna to US$300m – Finance – Cloud – Networking – Software- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has moved swiftly to stem the encroachment of digital buy-now pay-later platforms (BNPL) like Afterpay and Zip onto its unsecured lending book, launching Swedish fintech darling Klarna in Australia overnight and upping its equity stake to US$300 million.
The move, which was telegraphed at last year’s financial results, will up the CBA’s stake in the 15 year-old company to 5.5 percent, with equity in the local venture being 50 percent split.
CBA customers can access Klarna via the CBA app, but the service is also being made available to non-CBA customers who can then presumably be lured across to Australia’s biggest bank from rivals.
The equity boost also puts the CBA in the esteemed company of other Klarna investors like hip-hop impresario Snoop Dogg whose flamboyant lifestyle is featured in Klarna’s video ads.

The CBA is using the Klarna play as a backstop to hedge an accelerating migration away from the ebbing credit card market which is being increasingly shunned by millennials in favour of debit products because of high interest rates and the fragmentation of loyalty schemes.
“Our partnership with Klarna will further enhance the customer experience in our leading banking app and address the rapidly growing demand among consumers for new payment options,” CBA chief executive Matt Comyn said.
“In particular, it allows us to build on our leading technology to deliver the very best payment services for our customers and merchants in Australia, on platforms which are safe, secure, and easy to use.
The giddy growth rates of BNPL plays, coupled with strict new responsible checks for credit products, are a major headache not just for the CBA but other retail banks because the suck out lucrative interest payments and interchange fees as well as hoarding customer data.
The standard operating model for BNPL offerings is to shunt costs over to the merchant in exchange for access to customers that may not otherwise purchase products under what amounts to a glorified lay-by service.
While shopkeepers feel a bigger sting on transactions, this is mollified by BNPL by carrying the credit risk for transaction allowing the merchant to get the cash up front.
The big problem for banks is that the goldmine of consumer spending data that used to be reaped from credit cards and their loyalty schemes – data used by banks to sell products – essentially vests with the BNPL, giving the schemes the whip hand on customer intelligence.
While NAB and Westpac have all toed the BNPL market through their venture funds, the CBA’s move to directly invest in a sizeable chunk Klarna is a more strategic move to gain access to the Swedish firm’s tech stack and integrate it with the bank’s systems to create a rival play to credit cards.
The move also largely follows CBA chief executive Matt Comyn’s previous logic that attempts by the big four banks to shut out rival products like ApplePay – which simply crushes bank interchange revenue – is pointless in the long term because it leaves banks as legacy laggards.
Instead of holding out against new competitors, the CBA is buying its way in at scale to rebuild a payments and credit tech ecosystem that was largely built on tightly coupled mainframe technology, unhitching itself from the Mastercard / Visa duopoly in the process.
“By partnering with Klarna, we are bringing together our market leading digital technology, merchant relationships and strong customer network with Klarna’s innovative payments technology and integrated shopping experience for the benefit of CBA customers and many more Australian consumers,” Comyn said.
CBA was widely expected to launch Klarna this month after it was revealed the fintech’s chief executive, Sebastian Siemiatkowski, was flying into Australia this week.
“This is an exciting day for Klarna, CBA and Australia as a whole. We have already developed a strong working relationship with CBA and we look forward to providing even more opportunities together for our customers in the coming months and years,” Siemiatkowski said.
The big question now is whether Snoop Dogg will front a local campaign for Klarna and CBA in Australia. iTnews will put the question to the powers that be later today.

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