Saving theatres 🤝
Chitra in trouble, venture deals, and Ryan Cohen is back.
Market summary: 📊
What a brutal freaking start to the week here! India pulled back considerably as rising oil prices make it hard to keep businesses running as usual. US had a similar day, absolutely skinning growth stocks by the end of the session.
S&P 500 - down 2.95%
Nasdaq - down 3.75%
Nifty 50 - down 2.35%
Sensex - down 2.74%
What’s brewing hot? ☕
👩 Chitra goes on a picnic — the ex-CEO of the National Stock Exchange, who is currently being toasted for letting a faceless Yogi dictate terms to her via email, was sent to CBI custody for 7 days last night. Investigators are basically holding her accountable for violating like a million rules when she openly shared financials, projections, and other non-public data of the National Stock Exchange with her pen-pal for “guidance”. If you’re lost, here’s a refresher.
💰 Rupee comes under pressha — as oil prices shoot to record highs, India will have to buy more foreign currency to keep the pumps from running dry, and as a result the rupee is tanking against the USD. We breached ₹77 for a dollar momentarily last night. If the trend continues, everything from your ride to work, to local flight tickets, to your summer travel plans could end up costing a few bills more.
PVR plots a blockbuster deal with its rivals 🎥
What’s happening — after the pandemic absolutely ravaged the movie-theater business, India’s largest movie chain, PVR Cinemas, is now looking to merge its operation with the No.4 in the game, Cinépolis, in a deal worth ₹13,600 crores!
That’s the first mega multiplex consolidation event here locally post COVID, and certainly won’t be the last!
Ever since footfalls fell and most movie-production stalled during lockdowns, the theaters have been bleeding horribly. PVR, for example, saw revenues spiral down from ₹3,500 crores pre-COVID, to a chillar-₹300 crores last year. That’s a death sentence.
Recovery has been slow too: once-in-a-decade type of movies, the big money showdowns like Spiderman, Batman, and Bollywood-staples, have managed to pull in record foot traffic. But that’s exactly what the pundits were worried about — that people would come out only for top-names, while everything else gets relegated to be streamed from the comforts of the holy couch!
So, by joining hands, the PVR-Cinepolis alliance could control over 1,200 screens across India — which means the duo can negotiate better deals with distributors and producers, create loyalty programs (like AMC-stubs), push expansion into rural areas too, and cut costs from marketing, staffing and from competing against each other.
Talks are still half baked though. And how regulators think about the power gained by the combination, and how giants like INOX and react could determine the fate of the deal.
Worth mentioning — Indian film industry lost over ₹15,000 crore in revenue in the last 2 years. Unique times demand unique solutions.
Change is long overdue, time to set the record straight ⚡
Women make up half our populace, yet barely 21% of women are investing in stocks. For whatever reason, when it comes to savings, women find themselves largely restricted to traditional products — Gold, Real Estate, or maybe just the old-school cash in the bank.
About time this changes!
To encourage more women to participate and learn from the stock markets, lightening-fast investing platform Dhan is slashing its brokerage by 50% for all the Dhan-using women investors and traders! 🙌
Not for a day, a week, or a month… right up until it reaches an EQUAL number of men and women investors on the Dhan platform.
India’s most respected business leaders, including Radhika Gupta of Edelweiss, Laxmi Iyer of Kotak Mutual Fund, Anjali Bansal of Avaana Capital, Aditi Kothari Desai of DSP Mutual Fund, Vineeta Singh of Sugar Cosmetics, and others are backing the initiative.
Best part? You can get started with an account for ₹0 in literally minutes. There’s also no demat or annual maintenance charges and absolutely Zero brokerage fees for delivery.
It’s fresh-produce day in Venture Town 💰
What’s poppin’ — Captain Fresh, the B2B seafood marketplace, closed a $50 million Series C from usual suspects Prosus and Tiger Global — doubling valuation to $500 million in just 3 months!
India’s seafood market is a highly regional, fragmented, and riddled with middlemen type of a setting — who make the procurement process tedious, especially for well polished businesses. Captain Fresh directly connects the harvesters (fishermen) to wholesale buyers on its platforms (think large modern restaurants, local re-sellers, inner-city distributors etc.), sorting out the entire process with a pinch of modern-day tech-enabled efficiency.
The company serves 2,500 clients in India, and is kicking off ops in the US, Spain and Middle East. Fresh funds will be put to double down on other meat categories.
Then, onto an agritech raise 🌾
Otipy (why name something OTP?) raised a $32 million in a Series B round from Westbridge Capital, SIG and Omidyar Network.
Otipy basically sources fresh vegetables and fruits from farmers in rural India, and sells them to “reselling partners” across Tier II and III cities — who run their own group buying programs, delivering stuff to retail consumers. The platform works with over 20K resellers, servicing 400K+ customers. Impressive models and ideas regardless!
There’s a new GameStop in town, and no it isn’t Oil 💸
What happened — Ryan Cohen, the billionaire-founder of Chewy, who last year acquired a large stake in GameStop, pushed for change, and drove a crazy meme-rally in the company’s stock, is back to work with a new company.
Ryan disclosed a mega stake in home goods products giant, Bed Bath & Beyond last night, prompting $BBBY stock to jump as much as 30%!
Ryan’s firm, RC Ventures, picked up a 10% stake in the business, for just over $160 million, and then submitted a memo to the company’s management on how to fix its problems.
Pandemic issues: BBBY, which runs large stores selling bedding, curtains, and cookware, was struggling to appeal to millennial shoppers for the past decade. Pandemic put the last nail in its coffin. But the firm still runs 1,500+ stores across North America, making $10 billion+ in revenues.
Bottomline — extreme volatility in the markets caused by the war-mess is giving total March 2020 vibes, drawing people into usual shenanigans.
Closing out — YouTubers are pumping India's GDP 📈
What’s poppin’ — an intriguing report launched by YouTube a few days ago says creators on its platform in India added a record ₹6,800 crores to India's GDP in 2020 — thanks to inexpensive microphones, and shifting consumer eyeballs to wackier, crispier content.
Most of the best creators you look at have top-notch teams grinding in the background — which means jobs, salaries, output, consumption, and other benefits.
There were some other exciting stats in the report:
YouTube apparently added over 683K full time jobs in 2020 in India
YouTube India has almost 4,000 channels with 100K+ subscribers, growing 45% YoY
Number of channels making 6 figures income grew 60% YoY
Why are we obsessed: last week we saw Physics Wallah, a YouTube-channel turned ed-tech venture, raise $$ at a billion dollar valuation! Buzzing ecosystem means that won’t be the last story we hear.
Not to forget, a large chunk of the population has yet to come online or even discover YouTube in India.
What else are we Snackin’ 🍿
🗣️ File this under junk - Moody’s, the financial ratings agency, slapped a “junk” rating on Russia’s economy after sanctions push them into the stone age.
🤦 Western ideology FTW - the famed university of UC Berkeley is being forced to cut back on promised admissions after locals complained about the impact the campus and its crowd has on the town of Berkeley.
🦇 Bats helping - The Batman earned $128.5 million on its opening weekend to become the second film post-COVID to cross $100 million in a single weekend. Not enough to save the theatre business tho.
Hit that 💚 if you liked today’s issue.
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