‘E-tailers clock $8.3 bn in Oct.-Nov.’

Facebook’s Cryptocurrency Libra In January

Social media giant Facebook Inc.’s (FB) new cryptocurrency Libra could reportedly launch as soon as January but in a limited format.

According to a report from The Financial Times, the Libra Association, which has 27 members including Facebook, had announced plans to launch digital versions of several traditional currencies in April. However now it is only planning to launch a single coin backed by the dollar. The other currencies and the composite would be rolled out at a later point.

Libra’s exact launch date would depend on when the project receives approval to operate as a payments service from the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority.

Meanwhile the scaling back of the project comes after it received warning from global regulators that the cryptocurrency could threaten monetary stability.

Initiated in June 2019, the Libra Association faced major regulatory scrutiny and several member companies like PayPal and MasterCard left the project.

Pot Stocks Gain With U.S. House to Vote on Decriminalization

Pot stocks jumped after an updated U.S. House schedule showed a vote will be held on marijuana decriminalization next week.

The BI Global Cannabis Competitive Peers index, which had been trading lower before the announcement, quickly gained 3% to the highest since Feb. 10. Aurora Cannabis Inc. rose 16%, Tilray Inc. jumped 14%, Harvest Health & Recreation Inc. added 11% and Cronos Group Inc. gained 8.6%.

A vote will be held on the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, which seeks to remove cannabis from the list of scheduled substances, according to a schedule update from Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. The House delayed a vote earlier this year. The Senate is not set to consider similar legislation at this time.

— With assistance by Megan Howard

Adani tops DHFL bid with ₹33,000 crore offer

Rivals want firm out for deadline miss

Billionaire Gautam Adani’s roads-to-mining group outbid U.S.-based Oaktree with a ₹33,000 crore bid for collapsed housing lender, DHFL. However, rival bidders want it out of the race for allegedly missing the deadline, a charge Adani Group denies saying it followed due process and the ‘cartel’ wants to prevent value maximisation.

Four entities — Adani Group, Piramal Group, Oaktree Capital Management and SC Lowy — submitted bids for DHFL in October, sources with DHFL’s lenders and the industry said.

But lenders, who are getting DHFL auctioned to recover unpaid loans, wanted suitors to revise their bids as original offers were low.

Adani Group, which had initially bid only for DHFL’s wholesale and Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) portfolio, in the revised offer submitted on November 17, bid for the entire book, offering a total of ₹30,000 crore plus interest of ₹3,000 cror, a lending source said.

Piramal quoted ₹23,500 crore only for the retail portfolio of DHFL, while Hong Kong-based SC Lowy bid ₹2,350 crore for SRA.

Vodafone Idea partners with firms to add non-core revenues

Telco allies with edtech, wellness start-ups to lift engagement

With the aim of increasing the share of non-telecom revenues, cash-strapped Vodafone Idea on Friday partnered with edtech and wellness companies, including upGrad, Udemy, cure.fit and 1mg, to provide exclusive offers from these firms to its subscribers.

“We’re fundamentally looking at non-telco revenue streams through partnerships becoming a strong source of revenue for us,” said Avneesh Khosla, director – Marketing. “It is going to be a meaningful revenue stream as we move forward. The organisation is putting its weight and might behind this… we definitely see this scaling up fairly aggressively,” he added.

‘4G push’

The move would also additionally help drive core telecom business revenue through higher engagement and by incentivising subscribers to upgrade to 4G from 2G, Mr. Khosla said.

“The partnerships are essentially targeted to a smartphone consumer, aged 18-45 years old and not necessarily only urban,” he said. “While there will be a larger resonance in urban, we have started to see a fair amount of interest even as far as rural is concerned. I don’t think rural is going to be a distant second,” Mr. Khosla added.

Vodafone Idea would be announcing more such partnerships in the near future, the director said.

Black Friday Sees Light Retail Turnouts, No Lines As Shoppers Opt For Online Purchases

The retail mayhem known as Black Friday was bleak today at most stores across the country. Instead of large lines and customers fighting for discount TVs, many outlets were nearly empty.

The down market on what’s typically the busiest day of the year for retail reflects the fear of Covid-19 contagion and perhaps the looming cutoff of unemployment benefits for many that marks this holiday season.

Still, spending is robust in some quarters.

The Adobe data analytics company tracks retail website visits, and it reports that Black Friday spending online is expected to increase to between $8.9 billion and $10.6 billion. That total reflects a gain of 20 and 42 percent, according to the company’s survey.

Those totals contrast with 2018 online figures. Two years ago, stores raked in $6.2 billion in a single day, according to Digital Trends.

There is a silver lining to the lack of retail action. The website Black Friday Death Count reports 11 deaths and more than 100 injuries related to Black Friday between 2006 and 2018.

Photos of retail activity from around the country show those who did turn out largely observing social distancing and masking protocols.

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‘E-tailers clock $8.3 bn in Oct.-Nov.’

Flipkart dominated festive season sale at 66%: Redseer

India’s online festive sales for a month from mid-October to November clocked $8.3 billion, a 65% year-on-year growth, and Flipkart Group played a dominant role with a share of 66% of the total sale, Redseer Consulting said on Friday.

“The overall growth story has been very bullish this festive season. We had predicted $7 billion of sales but the actual figures surpassed our expectations, showing how comfortable consumers have become with shopping online even in this pandemic-hit year,” Mrigank Gutgutia, director at consulting firm RedSeer, said.

The festive season for this year saw 88% customer growth from last year, driven by about 40 million shoppers from Tier 2+ cities.

Further, mobiles continued to dominate across all products. With a further increasing share of users from Tier 2+ cities, GMV (gross merchandise value) per customer dropped to ₹6,600 from ₹7,450 in the last festive season. “According to our estimates, Flipkart Group emerged as the leader during the whole festive month with 66% share of the total sale,” he said.

Factors like high pre-sale awareness and anticipation driven by an impactful campaign, wide selection across categories and seamless supply chain planning helped Flipkart and Amazon to drive growth this festive season, Redseer said.