A friend in investment banking and I were discussing how different this summer has been—and not just in terms of temperature. Usually, May is silly season in India (last year was an exception because of the elections): most people are out on vacation and companies are busy finalizing their books (most Indian companies close their books on 31 March and declare their results for the last quarter of the previous financial year as well as the full year in late April or May), which gives them little time to make major announcements. Interestingly, we’ve had a surfeit of such announcements this year, some prompted by court judgements, others by government actions, and still others by corporate activity. That hasn’t just made this an intense summer for most journalists such as this writer; it has made it a curiosity-filled one with more questi ons than answers. Here are 10 questions for which this writer would like answers:
10. It is evident that the warring Ambani brothers have reached some sort of settlement on gas and other issues, but have they, as a surfeit of conveniently timed reports in various newspapers would want us to believe, really kissed, made up, and effectively turned the clock back to 2002?
9. I know that it is impossible to predict air crashes and railway accidents and attacks by Maoists, but is India the country with the worst record for one not in a war, in terms of civilian deaths from accidents and attacks by terrorists and insurgents?
8. How does the Mahindra group play the perfect percentage game when it comes to mergers and acquisitions?
Illustration: Shyamal Banerjeee/Mint
7. How did the Tata group manage to turn around its acquisitions of Corus and JaguarLand Rover as early as it did?
6. Will telcos that have bid fanciful amounts for 3G spectrum rush to the government for a bailout in the third or fourth year of their operations?
5. Are the A. Raja tapping tapes for real?
4. Did the Indian cricket board really base its show-cause notice to Lalit Modi on media reports that, in turn, were based on a so-called source report of the Income Tax department which, it turns out, doesn’t really exist?
3. Will India allow foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail?
2. Why is it hotter this summer?
1. Is the Indian economy all right, or should we expect the dreaded double-dip to make an appearance in September or October?
You can expect to see answers to at least some of the questions in Mint. As for the rest, we could always speculate, but like Holmes we never guess. To quote the man: “It is a shocking habit—destructive to the logical faculty.”
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