‘Govt considering foreign institutional investment of up to 20% in LIC IPO’

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Indian government is considering allowing foreign institutional investment of up to 20% in Life Insurance Corporation, according to a government source, reported Reuters on Wednesday.


The listing of LIC is set to be India’s biggest ever IPO, with the government aiming to raise up to Rs 90,000 crore ($12.24 billion) from its stake sale.





Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. ICICI Securities Ltd. were among banks picked to work on Life Insurance Corp. of India’s initial public offering, in what’s set be the nation’s biggest listing, Bloomberg reported last month.




Kotak Mahindra Capital Co., JM Financial Ltd., Citigroup Inc. Nomura Holdings Inc. were also selected to work on the share sale that’s slated for early next year, after 16 investment banks presented their pitches to the government, people with knowledge of the matter said, asking not to be identified because the information isn’t public. 




Banks will start engaging with investors from September, with a potential listing expected between January March next year, one of the people said.


 

(Only the headline picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Late stage technology deals at an all time high in India: IVCA-EY report

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The average ticket size of late stage technology deals is at an all-time high so far in 2021 compared to the last two years, with a total of 500 deals attracting venture capital funding to the tune of $17.2 billion in the first half of 2021 compared to a total of $11.1 billion in 2020, a new report has found.


The number of early stage deals saw a significant dip of almost half compared to 2019, the “State of Indian Markets: Investment Environment (Startup) Report” by Indian Private Equity Venture Capital Association (IVCA) EY says.





The study found 245 early stage deals so far in 2021, compared to 498 deals in the same time in 2019.


It further said there have been many deals above $20 million this year with a surge in the velocity of funding into startups by VCs.


Karthik Reddy, vice chairman of IVCA, managing Partner of Blume Ventures, said, “2021 has unfolded into one of the most unexpected aggressive phases of consumer business adoption of digital, spurring the urgency amongst entrepreneurs, financial strategic investors to rapidly double down on their digital forays. It promises to be an unprecedented decade of growth for digital tech businesses in India.”


Among overall sector-wise trends deals, fintech (financial technology) topped the charts with 61 deals followed by edtech (education technology) with 42 deals.


India ranked third in terms of a total number of unicorns, or businesses valued above $1 billion, in 2020 has emerged as the new home of unicorns, with 21 new ones added in the first half of 2021.


Simultaneously, the potential pipeline expanded by 1.5 time, with nearly 8 per cent of global unicorns having a technology center in India. Investments have rebounded strongly with startup investments in the first half of 2021 surpassing total investments made in 2020.


More than 135 corporations are actively participating in investing, acquiring or partnering with start-ups. Currently, investments mergers acquisitions (M&A) recovery are in line with global trends, the report said.


“2021 has so far been a landmark year on multiple fronts – fund inflows, a groundswell shift to online services, IPO/exits becoming a reality, increase in the M&A for scale skill. While the investment activity has accelerated, there is a need to have a metered approach to build long-term sustainable businesses shareholder value,” said Ankur Pahwa, partner, E-commerce Consumer Internet leader – EY.


Tier-2 cities are leading the way, not only in adoption but also in startups, which shows a gradual shift from addressing urban challenges.


Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, 2020 has provided tailwinds to digital adoption. The digital maturity of the Indian enterprise has doubled, while Internet penetration has expanded to over 750 million subscribers.


Uncertainty rapid experimentations have shifted the founder mindset a new playbook is emerging for the post-Covid world. Collaboration, employee experience, frugality, global expansion are key to founders today.

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Biden is at the cliff’s edge: America must avoid another failed presidency

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This Sept. 11, a diminished president will preside over a diminished nation.


We are a country that could not keep a demagogue from the White House; could not stop an insurrectionist mob from storming the Capitol; could not win (or at least avoid losing) a war against a morally technologically retrograde enemy; cannot conquer a disease for which there are safe effective vaccines; cannot bring itself to trust the government, the news media, the scientific establishment, the police or any other institution meant to operate for the common good.


A civilization “is born stoic dies epicurean,” wrote historian Will Durant about the Babylonians. Our civilization was born optimistic enlightened, at least by the standards of the day. Now it feels as if it’s fading into paranoid senility.


Joe Biden was supposed to be the man of the hour: a calming presence exuding decency, moderation trust. As a candidate, he sold himself as a transitional president, a fatherly figure in the mold of George H.W. Bush who would restore dignity prudence to the Oval Office after the mendacity chaos that came before. It’s why I voted for him, as did so many others who once tipped red.


Instead, Biden has become the emblem of the hour: headstrong but shaky, ambitious but inept. He seems to be the last person in America to realize that, whatever the theoretical merits of the decision to withdraw our remaining troops from Afghanistan, the military intelligence assumptions on which it was built were deeply flawed, the manner in which it was executed was a national humiliation a moral betrayal, the timing was catastrophic.


ALSO READ: China, Pak Russia trying to figure out what to do with Taliban: Biden


We find ourselves commemorating the first great jihadist victory over America, in 2001, right after delivering the second great jihadist victory over America, in 2021. The 9/11 memorial at the World Trade Center — water cascading into one void, then trickling, out of sight, into another — has never felt more fitting.


Now Biden proposes to follow this up with his $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill, which The Times’s Jonathan Weisman describes as “the most significant expansion of the nation’s safety net since the war on poverty in the 1960s.”


When Lyndon Johnson launched his war on poverty, its associated legislation — from food stamps to Medicare — passed with bipartisan majorities in a lopsidedly Democratic Congress. Biden has similar ambitions without the same political means. This is not going to turn out well.


Last week, Joe Manchin, Democrat from West Virginia, published an essay in The Wall Street Journal in which he said, “I, for one, won’t support a $3.5 trillion bill, or anywhere near that level of additional spending, without greater clarity about why Congress chooses to ignore the serious effects inflation debt have on existing government programs.”


Is the White House paying any more attention to Manchin’s message than it did to classified intelligence briefs over the summer warning of the prospect of a swift Taliban victory?


Maybe Biden supposes that the legislation, if passed, will prove increasingly popular over time, like Obamacare. That’s the optimistic scenario. Alternatively, he could suffer a legislative calamity like Hillary Clinton’s health care reform in 1994, which would have ended Bill Clinton’s presidency save for his sharp swing to the center, including ending “welfare as we know it” two years later.


Even the optimistic precedent was followed by a Democratic rout in 2010, when the party lost 63 House seats. If history repeats itself at the 2022 midterms, I doubt that even Joe Biden’s closest aides think he has the stamina to fight his way back in 2024. Has Kamala Harris shown the political talent to pick up the pieces?


Perhaps what will save the Democrats is that Biden’s weakness will tempt Donald Trump to seek (almost certainly gain) the Republican nomination. But then there’s the chance he’d win the election.


There’s a way back from this cliff’s edge. It begins with Biden finding a way to acknowledge publicly the gravity of his administration’s blunders. The most shameful aspect of the Afghanistan withdrawal was the incompetence of the State Department when it came to expediting visas for thousands of people eligible to come to the United States. Accountability could start with Antony Blinken’s resignation.








ALSO READ: Biden defends US withdrawal from Afghanistan; says it’s ‘best decision’


The president might also seize the “strategic pause” Manchin has proposed push House Democrats to pass the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill without holding it hostage to the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill. Infrastructure is far more popular with middle-of-the-road voters than the Great Society reprise that was never supposed to be a part of the Biden brand.


My sense is that Biden will do neither. The last few months have told us something worrying about this president: He’s proud, inflexible, thinks he’s much smarter than he really is. That’s bad news for the administration. It’s worse news for a country that desperately needs to avoid another failed presidency.



Bret L. Stephens has been an Opinion columnist with The Times since April 2017. He won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary at The Wall Street Journal in 2013 was previously editor in chief of The Jerusalem Post

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Zen Tech hits upper circuit for 6th straight day, up 101% so far this month

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Shares of Zen Technologies were locked at the upper circuit for the sixth straight trading session on Wednesday, rising over 100 per cent during the period. The rally was triggered in the stock after the company secured a new order from the Indian Air Force (IAF).


In the last five trading sessions, the stock had hit the 10 per cent upper circuit limit; however, the exchanges have revised the circuit filter to 5 per cent with effect from today. The stock of the defence is now trading at its life-time high.





Till 10:46 am, a combined 1.02 million equity shares had changed hands with pending buy orders for around 1.15 million shares on the BSE NSE. In comparison, the S&P BSE Sensex was up 0.06 per cent at 58,315.


On September 3, Zen Technologies announced that it has secured an order worth Rs 155 crore from the Indian Air Force (IAF) for supply of Counter Unmanned Aircraft Systems (CUAS).


The order will be carried out in a 12-month time frame. This is Zen Technologies’ first significant order in the anti-drone space, the company said it remains confident of securing additional orders in the future.


Earlier this month, the company had stated that it had secured orders worth Rs 211 crore during April-June (Q1FY22) quarter. “Order book as on September 01, 2021, stands at Rs 402.6 crore as against an order book of Rs 191.6 crore on 30th June 2021,” Zen Technologies had said.


Zen Technologies is engaged in manufacturing land-based military training simulators, driving simulators, live range equipment anti-drone systems. The company is engaged in indigenous design, development manufacture of sensors simulators technology based defence training systems has relentlessly been providing Defence Training Solutions seamless services to Ministry of Defence (Armed Forces), Security Forces Police, Para-military forces.


Anti-drone systems, drones, training solutions will continue to be the core business of Zen Technologies the company has all the simulators required for the legacy equipment used by the Indian Army, the release added.

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OnePlus Buds Pro review: Sound thrills but controls ruin user experience

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Since its integration with OPPO, things are shaping up quite differently for OnePlus – mostly in a good way. Changes in the Nord 2 5G (review) smartphone were subtle yet apparent, same is the case with the recently launched OnePlus Buds Pro wireless earbuds. On paper, the OnePlus Buds Pro comes across as an all-round package deal in the wireless earbuds segment. But how does it fare in real life? Let’s find out:


Design





This is one area where OPPO’s influence is apparent. The OnePlus Buds Pro looks similar to the OPPO Enco X in more ways than one, but with a better texture design language. It boasts in-ear design with a tiny stem protruding from the earbuds. Made of plastic, these earbuds have a matte black finish (review unit) with a dual tone colour texture. The matte finish makes the buds easy to handle use. As for quality, the earbuds seem to have a durable sturdy build. They might withsteveryday abuse, but they do easily become dirty require regular cleaning to stay in a good condition. The Buds Pro is IP55-rated for water dust resistance.


 The black matte finish extends to the earbuds’ charging-cum-storage case. It is a tiny rectangular unit with curved corners which makes it slide easily even in the most cramped spaces like a jeans pocket. On the front, there is a tiny LED battery indicator that doubles up as the pairing light indicator. The back side sports the case USB-C charging port. The top, surprisingly, is not boring features the OnePlus branding. The OnePlus Buds Pro’s charging case is heavier than those of most peers, but it is one of the few that come with wireless charging support. The case is water resistant too (IPX4) but not dust resistant.


Features performance


From adaptive active noise cancellation to wireless charging, Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity, Dolby Atmos support, the OnePlus Buds Pro is brimful with premium features. However, most of its key differentiating features are limited to OnePlus smartphones, that too not all of them. For example, the buds’ fast pair function is available on the OnePlus 6 series smartphones above. Likewise, the Dolby Atmos is available only on the OnePlus 7 series smartphones above. The earbuds support LHDC (Low Latency High-Definition Audio Codec), besides SBC AAC. But then there are not many smartphones compatible with LHDC. Therefore, the Buds Pro mostly uses AAC as standard for audio transmission.


The OnePlus Buds Pro impresses nonetheless with a rich sound signature. These earbuds’ audio output is bass-rich, something that ticks with Indian consumers. Interestingly, the bass-heavy output does not kill other definitions – vocals treble. The earbuds’ sound output is thrilling with crisp trebles, deep bass clear vocals. It is one of the few earbuds that work well for most audio profiles, including music, instruments, podcasts.


Rounding off the stellar performance are earbuds’ value-added features. The Buds Pro supports adaptive noise cancellation, which automatically adjusts the ANC intensity based on the ambient environment. It works as advertised is a great addition to the mix. Besides auto, there are manual controls to adjust the ANC intensity between extreme light. And then there is the transparency mode, which lets the ambient noise pass through the earbuds, so you stay aware about your surroundings.


The OnePlus Buds Pro is among the few pairs of wireless earbuds that work as well with the Apple iPhones as with Google Android devices. Besides, these can be used with a wide range of Bluetooth-enabled devices, including PCs tablets. Managing the buds is easy too, through the supplementary app named ‘Hey Melody’ – available on both Google Play Store Apple App Store. A good thing about the app is that it lets you test the earbuds’ fit so that you get the best experience. Besides, the app shows the case earbuds’ battery lets you upgrade the firmware, whenever available. The app support is appreciated, but the absence of basic functionalities like equalisers, sound profiles, etc, makes the app insufficient, especially for pro users.


As for the user experience, the Buds Pro are good in terms of fit handling but things go downhill when it comes to controls. This is because the Buds Pro uses pressure-sensitive press controls. A light press (single press, double press, triple press) on the buds’ stem activates the respective actions. These press controls are cumbersome. They affect the buds’ fit sometimes result in their accidental ejection from the ears.


Verdict


Priced at Rs 9,990, the OnePlus Buds Pro is a pair of solid wireless earbuds with experimental press controls that somewhat ruin the overall user experience. On the positive side, the Buds Pro is unlike any of the wireless earbuds OnePlus has launched before. It is not a pair of regular earbuds but one that rubs shoulders with the best available in the market, both in terms of sound quality features. Rounding off the package is the premium design modest on-battery time. In the overall scheme of things, though, the experimental press controls seem a tiny trade-off.

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information commentary on developments that are of interest to you have wider political economic implications for the country the world. Your encouragement constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed updated with credible news, authoritative views incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

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