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Corporate chatter: Minister angered by drones, Delhi heiress throws a fit in Mumbai, Jeff Bezos's desi designs

A drone captured a video of a minister at a wedding, apparently without his permission.

ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Jan 31, 2020, 12.18 PM IST
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Agencies
Jeff's black and white bespoke jacket, Rahul Bhatia locking horns with IndiGo founders & Wadia's bash: How India Inc spent first month of 2020.
Jeff's black and white bespoke jacket, Rahul Bhatia locking horns with IndiGo founders & Wadia's bash: How India Inc spent first month of 2020.
ET’s weekly roundup of the wackiest whispers and murmurs in corporate corridors & policy parlours.

Over View
Drones are commonly used at weddings to capture an aerial view of the proceedings. One such machine captured video of a minister at a wedding, apparently without his permission. The fuming minister wanted the aviation ministry to regulate such devices at weddings only to be told that these were toy drones and therefore didn’t fall under the regulatory ambit. But the minister was not satisfied and wanted action. A one-time declaration of all unregistered drones in the country was ordered. While the registration process is on, not many expect a large number of them to sign up.

Crash Course
Obtaining a five-star safety rating on crash tests is a badge of honour for Indian carmakers, whereas it’s considered par for the course in more advanced markets. A CEO at a recent car launch appeared to interrupt a briefing to take a surprise call about the model getting a high safety rating. In fact, the teleprompter alerted him to take the call, so it didn’t appear to have been wholly unexpected. Still, it’s good to see at least some manufacturers are taking safety certificates seriously.

Check Out
Even as his company continues to fire thousands of employees in India to staunch its cash bleed, this consumer tech titan, who claims to be building the world’s largest hospitality chain, is ensuring that the new year kicks off on a celebratory note. First off was wining and dining a sizeable contingent of US-based motel owners, mostly of Gujarati descent, as the unicorn tries to shore up its sagging business in the world’s largest consumer market. If that wasn’t enough, the founder descended on a well-known seaside town along with his top executives to celebrate his brother’s wedding, on which no expenses are being spared it appears.

Unwanted Guest
This Delhi-based heiress took her gaggle of girlfriends to have sundowners at a rooftop bar in midtown Mumbai but was turned away as the entire place had been booked by a topflight PE fund for their annual party. It seemed no amount of persuasion or rolling of the eyes worked as the manager remained steadfast in his refusal. We caught her in the lobby, storming out with a bruised ego while making her displeasure vocal to the effect that such a thing wouldn’t have happened in her hotels.

Muchas Gracias
Booze, cakes, trips to Bali are so passe. Trust a Facebook or Google to think out of the box when it comes to New Year gifts. How about monogrammed Onitsuka Tiger sneakers with your name embossed? That’s how the Silicon Valley tech titans said thank you to each of the top contributors of video content on their network. And then they outdid themselves--bespoke drones for each one. So now if you see fabulous aerial shots, you know who’s responsible.

Fevicol di Jodi
We understand that rainmakers have to woo their clients and keep them in good humour all the time. But at a recent party, this young banker took the axiom very seriously and stuck to a unicorn founder who had just organised the biggest rock concert the country has ever seen. So much so that other guests were wondering if they would soon feature in a Fevicol ad. We were wondering if there’s a big deal brewing.

Common Cause
Cofounders Rahul Bhatia and Rakesh Gangwal hold near-equal stakes in IndiGo, but the scales are tilted in favour of Bhatia when it comes to control of the board and management.
Cofounders Rahul Bhatia and Rakesh Gangwal hold near-equal stakes in IndiGo, but the scales are tilted in favour of Bhatia when it comes to control of the board and management.
Word is that the warring promoters of InterGlobe Aviation, which runs IndiGo, are likely to seek common ground on the resolution relating to tag-along rights and right of first refusal.
Trouble Erupts in IndiGo Cockpit Over Flight Path Clauses in shareholder pact.
Trouble Erupts in IndiGo Cockpit Over Flight Path Clauses in shareholder pact.
A favourable vote will allow a partner to exit without seeking the other’s approval. This will allow for an amicable parting of ways, goes the reasoning. The resolution is going to be put to vote next week.

Matching Terms
It’s well-known that non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) are struggling to get funds. One such company led by a renowned rainmaker has been adjusting its books to move toward more acceptable asset-liability mismatch (ALM) levels--more long-term funds to match the longterm nature of its construction assets. Although it has been raising funds for longer terms, say three or five years, there seems to be a catch. Apparently, many such borrowings carry a clause that allows lenders to demand their money back in less than a year. So, are much of the ALM adjustments just optics?

Psychedelic Escapades
Agencies
Celina, hubby Jeh (left) and bro Ness (right) —threw a lavish bash for friends at their Spring Mills City Centre property.
Celina, hubby Jeh (left) and bro Ness (right) —threw a lavish bash for friends at their Spring Mills City Centre property.

This weekend the Wadia gen next—Celina, hubby Jeh and bro Ness —threw a crazy bash for friends at their Spring Mills City Centre property that started on Saturday night and ended lunchtime Sunday. ‘Love the life you live, live the life you love’ seemed an innocuous theme but what nobody had ever expected was they would be transported to an all-night psy-trance party that wouldn’t have been out of place in Israel, Berlin or Goa. The dress code was snow white and only those like Gauri Khan who wanted to stand out chose to break it. From the lesser Birlas to the Godrej-Dubashes to Kaajal ‘Putlu’ Anand, Bollywood divas and business barons were all ecstatic at the epic party.

Banker’s Trust
Not only has this softspoken and media-shy exbanker joined forces with Sachin Bansal for his planned bank foray, he’s clearly spreading his wings far and wide. Turns out he’s also hot property among VC and blue-blooded PE groups. He’s advising a US fund that invested more than $1.5 billion in another private lender, an Indophile businessman from Canada with interests in airports and insurance, travel companies and banks and a VC firm that has a former investment banker in its senior leadership. But now that this gentleman is in the reckoning for the top job in his previous organisation, we wonder how long these gigs will last.

Son Rises
Daddy dearest is clearly grooming his boy to take over the mantle of their sprawling real estate to financial services empire sooner than we thought. From chairing key meetings to investor roadshows to hosting important foreign dignitaries, his calendar seems chock-a-block. Just last week, with daddy away in Davos, he hosted a PE bigwig from Hong Kong who was in town to “officially” launch his fund as well his memoirs at an Asia Society event at the Taj. Weeks before that, he was also hosting the top leadership of a global pension fund that has massive India exposure at a private event at his residence. Boy wonder is surely growing up fast.

Label Conscious
ANI
The black and white bespoke jacket was signature Nari and immediately made quite a statement at the after party and in social circles.
The black and white bespoke jacket was signature Nari and immediately made quite a statement at the after party and in social circles.

Jeff Bezos chose amchi Mumbai boy Narendra ‘Nari’ Kumar Ahmed – creative director at Amazon India– to create his look for the Bollywood party thrown by the company during his recent trip. The black and white bespoke jacket was signature Nari and immediately made quite a statement at the after party and in social circles. Along with him, Amazon has cherry-picked jewellery designer Poonam Soni to expand its couture portfolio. She has launched a fine jewellery line for the ecommerce giant priced at Rs 1 lakh a piece.

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