Philip Morris and Modi Settle Dispute Over Marlboro Sale - US tobacco giant Philip Morris and its Indian joint venture partner, the KK Modi group, have decided to settle their dispute over the sale of Marlboro cigarettes in India, in what is being seen as a tactical retreat by both companies keen on gaining market share. The board of Godfrey Phillips India (GPI), where the two firms own a 36% stake each, decided on Saturday to start negotiations with Philip Morris to market Marlboro through the GPI distribution network in India. The two companies had clashed in 2003 after Philip Morris bypassed its Indian partner and struck an arrangement with a local distributor to sell Marlboro in India. (The Economic Times)

Sequoia To Go Ahead with $1 Billion Investments - Venture capital (VC) firm Sequoia Capital India has maintained that it is going ahead with an earlier announced investment plan of $1 billion in India as valuations have become reasonable. The Investment will be rolled over the next 3-4 years in sectors such as consumer retail, technology, financial services and energy in the country. The VC fund is scouting for startups and mid sized firms that are on the lookout for funds to execute expansion. (The Economic Times)

Pfizer Leads Race for Acquiring RFCL’s Animal Health Unit - GlobaL pharma giant Pfizer has emerged as the frontrunner to acquire RFCL’s animal health unit, Vetnex, in a deal estimated around Rs 250 crore. This follows the ICICI Venture-controlled RFCL’s move to divest its animal health business earlier this year. Pfizer is in advanced talks with RFCL and possibly close to a deal to acquire the unit, leaving other potential bidders out of the race. Pfizer has been exploring opportunities to bolster its animal health business, estimated below Rs 100 crore. (The Economic Times)

Subhiksha Gets Interim Stay on Liquidator - The Madras High Court today passed an interim order staying the appointment of a provisional liquidator (PL) for Subhiksha Trading Services, the retail chain which ran out of cash and suspended its operations. The appointment was made on March 31 on a petition by Kotak Mahindra Bank, which is owed about Rs 40 crore by Subhiksha. The latter had contested the decision saying the move would stymie an ongoing corporate debt restructuring exercise. (Business Standard)

MCA Questions Ownership of Loop Telecom - The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has told the Department of Telecom that there is an indirect link between Loop Telecom , a new telecom licence holder and the Essar Group. MCA has told DoT that the Essar Group appears to have used Santa Trading Pvt Ltd for investments in BPL Communications which, in turn, is the main shareholder in Loop Telecom. MCA has observed that though the Essar Group does not hold more than 9.9% stake indirectly in Loop Telecom, it has provided funding to the tune of Rs 1,592 crore to the new operator. According to existing telecom licensing rules, a single company cannot have more than 10% stake in two different entities offering mobile services in the same circle. Essar Group already owns close to 33% stake in its JV with Vodafone and hence should not have more than 10% stake in Loop Telecom. (The Hindu Business Line)

Marico Scouts for Acquisitions in Domestic Market - As part of its inorganic growth strategy, FMCG major Marico Ltd is aggressively scouting for acquisitions in domestic markets. The company is planning to acquire two regional brands in the beauty & wellness sector in India. Currently, the company is in talks with two players based in southern states in this space. Marico has also decided to divest its entire stake in its wholly owned subsidiary Sundari LLC which is engaged in the manufacturing and marketing of skincare cosmetics in the USA. (The Financial Express)


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