NEW DELHI: The economic crisis triggered by the lockdown has demonstrated that size matters. Going into 2021, it appears it’s the big boys, with strong balance sheets and deep pockets, who will have the edge …
Former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan named them, his successor Urjit Patel asked banks to act against them, and bankruptcy courts pushed the names that used to dominate India Inc out of the reckoning. The ’20s will see more of the big brands being relegated to the background.
Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group, Videocon, DHFL and Jet Airways are some of the biggies that are set to change hands in 2021.
Besides perennial acquirer Gautam Adani, Ajay Piramal and Vedanta’s Anil Agarwal are seen as the conquistadors for 2021. Also, there are faceless, ubiquitous PEs with inexhaustible funds, and wildcards like a bidder for Jet Airways — Murari Lal Jalan.
Lifeline for Vodafone Idea
While Vodafone Idea has won a reprieve from the SC to settle government dues, the company needs a lifeline. Funds are expected to be infused soon. The company, a JV between Aditya Birla Group and Vodafone, is hit by losses, debt and competition.
Battle for retail pie
The RIL-Future Retail deal, embroiled in a legal battle over objections from Amazon, is expected to go through. But 2021 will see two of the richest people on the planet, Jeff Bezos and Mukesh Ambani, battling for India’s retail sector.
Air India, BPCL divestment
Doubts have been raised over the financial ability of some bidders for the two PSUs. But the Centre is trying to conclude the sales early next year as it chases a tough target of Rs 2 lakh crore from disinvestments.
Blockbuster LIC IPO
LIC’s IPO is path-breaking at so many levels. It is a one-of-its-kind institution in the world, created by merging 245 insurance companies.
Second, the sheer size: Given that it manages Rs 32 lakh crore of assets, which is growing every year, the valuation is expected to be upwards of Rs 10 lakh crore. Selling even 20% of LIC would fund a large part of the government’s fiscal deficit.
Third, this is one of the biggest reform measures of the Modi government since every administration has used LIC’s money as a quasi-sovereign fund.
Tata vs Mistry feud
The final arguments in India’s biggest corporate feud in recent history have been heard. The SC is expected to give its verdict in early 2021. This will put an end to the four-year-old battle, which started after Cyrus Mistry was removed from the chairman’s post at Tata Sons by controlling shareholder Tata Trusts, helmed by Ratan Tata. Post-verdict, the two industrialists will be able to channel their energies on businesses.