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Business News/ Weekend / Best of the Week | Readers, we're listening
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Best of the Week | Readers, we're listening

Best of the Week, 27 January: Sony-Zee fallout, change in the education sector, and global warming.

Best of the WeekPremium
Best of the Week

Over the past year at Mint, we've put in a lot of effort to enhance your experience. The changes came mostly on our website and mobile app, with the intention of becoming more user-friendly.

We launched a new home page on our site, and a new markets home page as well. We added fresh elements, like collections — a collection is a series of articles on a particular topic that gets you fully informed; and it’s usually a topic that stays in the news for many weeks or months. We changed how we send mobile notifications, and introduced infographics optimised for the Mint app.

We've received good feedback on these changes. At the end of every Best of the Week newsletter, we also mention that we're a constantly evolving product. That remains true nearly every day of the year.

Having said that, we always value feedback. It keeps us close to what you, our readers, want. Moreover, it gives our newsroom direction to pursue new stories. I've received many replies from faithful readers who point out potential leads; these are passed onto our reporters. Today, I'll ask the same of you once more, but in a more structured manner.

Mint's annual subscriber survey ‘Q&A with Mint’ is open. If you are a subscriber to Mint Premium — be it a digital subscription, or ordering the physical copy at your home or office, please do take out 8 minutes to fill this out. It will help us immensely.

Link to survey.

On to the best works from our newsroom, from the week gone by:

The biggest news that transpired this week was the collapse of the merger between Sony and Zee. The $10 billion deal would have been the largest in India's entertainment sector, but Sony pulled the plug on it.

🤝 Gaurav Laghate, who was on top of this transaction since day one, breaks down the trajectory of the merger — and why it didn't happen.

😓 Varun Sood writes a timely story on the predicament of Zee's shareholders. After the deal was initially announced, Zee's shares shot up. While the deal fell through only recently, Sood tracks down the history of Zee's governance issues, raised by some of Zee's biggest institutional shareholders.

📺 Mayur Bhalerao takes stock of the Zee group of companies — most of which plunged deeply this week. The crown jewel, Zee Entertainment, was down by more than a third since Sony announced it wasn’t going ahead with the merger.

📈 A year ago, another conglomerate saw its market cap drain massively. But since then, the Adani Group has stabilised. The Supreme Court of India’s refusal to get into a court-monitored investigation provided respite with regard to concerns around governance at Adani. Nandita Venkatesan charts out how the Adani Group performed since the Hindenburg report was released. This also captures how Adani managed to climb into investors' good books again.

📉 The past week was unkind to the Indian stock market. The market, it seemed, has turned bearish again. Sensex and Nifty closed on Friday nearly where they started on Monday — but they took a very tumultuous route to get there. Ram Sahgal writes about how the markets were this week, and why the road ahead could remain rocky.

🧸 One of the main reasons for a lot of market losses was widespread selling by foreign portfolio investors (FPIs). If they didn't sell to rebalance their portfolios by the end of January, they would have been subjected to harsher disclosure norms, as ordered by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi). However, Priyanaka Gawande and Ram Sahgal report that this deadline has been pushed back. Frenzied selling by FPIs might stop after hearing this news, but a lot of damage has been done.

🧑‍🏫 Last week, the central government issued a directive that barred anyone under the age of 16 from enrolling in a coaching class. This will likely cause havoc across India's private education sector. These coaching institutes or tutorials that run in parallel to mainstream schools, are primarily for entrance tests to premier professional colleges or courses. Over the past three decades, they have ingrained themselves into India’s education landscape. The institutes are planning to take legal action against this decision, reported Devina Sengupta. She also details how such a move would change the entire sector as we know it, and why coaching institutes need regulating in the first place.

🛵 If there's one thing that's in BlinkIt's DNA, it's survival. The company has gone through multiple changes to turn into a quick commerce brand. These days, BlinkIt boasts about home delivery of mobiles phones costing well over a lakh in 10 minutes. But as Suneera Tandon details, it's not just about high-end electronics: the company wants to deliver whatever it can, as soon as it can. The unit economics in this business aren't exactly attractive. BlinkIt's financials are a burden on Zomato's bottom line ever since the food delivery company acquired BlinkIt a couple of years ago. The big question we try to unpack: Will it be able to deliver?

🧾 Health insurance is important for everyone, but it's more critical for senior citizens, who are in need of care more often than younger cohorts. But the premiums on health insurance for the elderly are quite high. Aprajita Sharma writes about how you can claim deductibles to reduce the monthly premiums — a useful article for anyone seeking to buy health insurance for seniors.

🦷 You see a lot more dental startups than healthcare startups. It makes sense — the market is more fragmented, and the initial cost to open a dental clinic is a fraction of a general hospital. Many startups vied for a piece of this pie, including Dezy. Backed by Peak XV (formerly Sequoia India) and Alpha Wave, Dezy recently laid off 40% of its staff in an effort to survive. Samiksha Goel writes about Dezy and its business model pivot as it looks to find place in India's crowded healthcare space.

🚜 The Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Ltd, or Iffco, is the country's largest producer of crop fertilisers. So when it released a product that it called the “innovation of the century", we took notice. Sayantan Bera decided to do on-ground reporting on this ‘magic fertiliser’ named nano urea. Both farmers and soil experts said that nano urea doesn't quite work as advertised. And it turns out that you can't buy a single unit of it. Farmers are forced to buy it in bulk packs. This piece explains how a leading farmers' cooperative failed its main constituents with this product and how this could impact our food security and India’s economy.

🗻 Think of the mountains. Now, think of the mountains in January. What's the image that comes to mind? Snow-filled slopes? That's how the Himalayas have always been — until this year. Sumant Banerji writes about towns in the Kashmir valley seeing little to no snow this season. Tourism and agriculture in the region have taken a hit. What does this mean for locals, tourists and its economic fallout?

That's all for this week. I hope you all have a pleasant weekend!

If you have any thoughts, ideas, or feedback for us, please feel free to write to me (shashwat.mohanty@htdigital.in). We are a constantly evolving news product, so any input is much appreciated!

Best,

Shashwat Mohanty

Assistant Editor

Subscriber Experience Team

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shashwat Mohanty
Shashwat works in the Subscriptions team, often thinking and executing ideas that could get people to pay for news. He is interested in editorial-led iniatives, as he believes that genuined journalism is still extremely valuable. He is a co-writer of Mint's flagship newsletter, Top of the Morning, and also writes the script of the podcast by the same name. Shashwat is also the producer and acontributer to the Best of the Week newsletter. When he's not missing deadlines, he likes attending live music gigs, discussing baseball, and complaining about the mileage of his car.
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Published: 26 Jan 2024, 09:35 PM IST
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