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Business News/ Weekend / Best of the Week | Where's the fun in cricket anymore?
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Best of the Week | Where's the fun in cricket anymore?

Best of the Week, 11 May: market turmoil, elections, and energy drinks

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Best of the Week

We've been writing Best of the Week for nearly a year and a half, and yet we've rarely mused on cricket. The average Indian man, in my experience, is quite fond of the sport.

He has an opinion about everything, especially on men's cricket—should Kohli reassume captaincy? Why didn't Tendulkar step down earlier? Will RCB ever provide any joy in life?

As a kid, I too grew up playing cricket. First, in the bylanes of my building. Then, in school. Before I knew it, I was playing district-level cricket. Of course, I wasn't any good at it—but I shouldn't let facts get in the way of a narrative. Despite remaining on the bench throughout, I enjoyed every facet of the game. I suppose most men share this emotion.

It's why men randomly break out into a bowling action while walking to the train station. It's why they curse a dropped catch, murmuring, “itna easy drop kar diya". It's why we watch.

Nothing was the same after that Final.
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Nothing was the same after that Final. (Andrew Boyers/Reuters)

However, after last year's loss to Australia in the World Cup final, something fundamentally changed in me. I haven't found that joy from cricket since then. That's why, this year's IPL feels quite disappointing.

Of course, some other factors play in too. Mumbai Indians are bottomdwellers. The disparity between the bat and ball is too wide too, but enough has been written about that. It's just not as exciting any more. Maybe I'll tune in for the finals. Maybe I won't.

Mumbai and Bengaluru might be performing poorly, but our newsroom certainly isn't. Here are some of Mint's best stories from the week gone by:

⌚️ A lot of companies suffer from a lack of stability at the top. That's not the case with Titan, the watches-to-jewellery arm of the Tata Group. Titan has had just three CEOs in its illustrious history that spans four decades. The incumbent, C.K. Venkataraman, has just been granted a 14-month term that will end in December 2025. To eventually replace him, Tata is looking at three candidates—all internal. Mint's corporates writer Varun Sood unearths the thought process behind the conglomerate's decision, including the possibility of Titan handing over the reins to a woman for the first time.

😰 Market veteran Samir Arora expects the BJP to return to power. The founder and fund manager of Helios Capital spoke to our markets' correspondent Dipti Sharma about his outlook for the election, and how he expects the markets to react. Arora said that in case there are any election surprises, he expects a broader downturn in the markets. Moreover, any new taxes on equities will also dampen the sentiment, he said.

📉 The markets echoed Arora's sentiment just a day after this interview was published: election jitters caused the stock market to crash on Thursday. Dipti and Ram Sahgal wrote about this meltdown, caused by a sudden bearish outlook in the markets. They write that the correction may not be over yet; a look at the futures contracts shows that more people are betting that Sensex and Nifty will continue falling till the end of the month.

🧸 To save themselves against such events, investors are hedging their bets. Ram reports that 1.48 million put options were outstanding. A put option buyer typically anticipates a market decline, as opposed to a call option, where the buyer expects the market to rise. Many investors expect Indian equities to continue declining as the election results get closer.

🤔 It's very unusual for a parent company and its regional arm to be at loggerheads. But that's what's happening with gasoline giant Linde Plc and its India subsidiary, Linde India. Linde Plc had announced a huge deal to supply gas in India, as they power semiconductor-related projects. Investors cheered at this news, and Linde India's share price increased by around 50% in just two months on expectations of a windfall. But as corporates correspondent Nehal Chaliawala notes, it's not yet clear which Linde will benefit from this deal. Under normal circumstances, Linde India would honour this deal and reap the benefits. But Linde Plc isn't clarifying which company will do it. There's a weird power struggle going on, and investors are likely to end up hurt.

🍟 Who doesn't love aloo bhujia? Turns out, big private equity players like it so much that they're willing to pay a lot for it—$4-5 billion, to be precise. Startups reporters Sneha Shah and Ranjani Raghavan report that Blackstone, Temasek, and Bain Capital are currently conducting due dilligence on sweet and savoury maker Haldiram Snacks. They value Haldiram at around $8 to 10 billion, and want at least a 51% stake in the namkeen seller.

Choose your poison.
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Choose your poison. (Sarvesh Kumar Sharma/Mint)

🫗 Till Pepsi introduced Sting, the energy drinks market wasn't too notable in India. But the small, 20 bottle with a bright red liquid has carved out a huge niche for itself. Available at a much small price point than its rivals Red Bull and Monster, Sting became the energy drink of choice for many Indians looking for a quick boost. While Coca Cola reigns supreme in other segments, Sting has given Pepsi a fighting chance in countries like India, Pakistan, and Vietnam. Longform writer Sumant Banerji takes a deep dive into Sting, its market, and lagging competitors.

🔌 A few weeks ago, we had reported that the central government had paved the way for Tesla to launch its electric vehicles in India. Shortly after that, entrepreneur and megalomaniac Elon Musk said he was looking forward to meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi. At the last minute, though, Musk cancelled this trip—instead, he visited China. While on the face of it this looks like a snub, China remains a much more important market for Tesla. Our partners at HowIndiaLives.com write and illustrate why the visit to China was more important for Musk and Tesla in the current scenario.

🗳️ Strong regional parties almost always fare well in their home states during the general elections. But in West Bengal, the BJP has given enough worry to the ruling Trinamool Congress party. Trinamool is now playing the religion game, reports Romita Datta. TMC candidates are making it a point that they are perceived as “Ram bhakts", she writes. Datta mentions that even without such explicit calls, a lot of soft Hindutva is peddled at certain speeches by TMC candidates. This is a sharp turn from just a few months ago when TMC chief Mamata Banerjee had labelled the inuaguration of the Ram temple in Ayodhya as a political stunt. Read this piece to understand the intricacies of the fight in West Bengal.

👆 Millions of Indians will get marked by an ink stain, showing that they voted. Contrary to what social media would like for you to believe, this ink is not to feel smug about having vote—it is to prevent fraud at the booths. Only one place in the world makes this special ink: Mysore Paints and Varnish. Started by the king of Mysore, Mysore Paints is currently owned by the Karnataka government, and listed publicly. It's a good, healthy stock: it has always been profitable, and always issued dividends. But without the election ink, its business suddenly looks bleak. If tomorrow, the election commission removes the requirement for staining voters' fingers, it will be difficult for Mysore Paints to exist. Longform writer N. Madhavan writes about the company, its rich history, and questions its future.

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

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

Best,

Shashwat Mohanty

Assistant Editor

Subscriber Experience Team

3.6 Crore Indians visited in a single day choosing us as India's undisputed platform for General Election Results. Explore the latest updates here!

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: 11 May 2024, 12:05 AM IST
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