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Business News/ Weekend / Long weekends and short deadlines
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Long weekends and short deadlines

Best of the Week, 7 October: credit cards, investments galore, and Vedanta's impending troubles.

Best of the WeekPremium
Best of the Week

Dear reader,

Much like every long weekend, my kind friends invited me for an out-of-town trip over the last one. Much like every long weekend, I had to decline.

My friends, who are absolved of their sins from the previous life, have chosen a career in fields other than journalism. As a result, they get 9-to-5 jobs, weekends off, and the ability to go on road trips on national holidays. Me? I've to work.

I sound grumpy — I'm not. But it helps to talk about my profession and some of the more frustrating areas of it. My extended weekend wasn't all that bad: I spent it meeting friends and taking in the humid breeze Bombay had to offer. I also spent it on food, using a new credit card as if HDFC Bank itself was paying for the spends.

Working on the story from Mint's Bombay office was a good experience, especially with unlimited tea flowing in.
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Working on the story from Mint's Bombay office was a good experience, especially with unlimited tea flowing in.

Much to my disappointment, Mint Money's editor Neil Borate made it clear that I won't be reimbursed for my personal spending, even if I called it “research" for a story I was working on. At least it was worth a try.

I'll be honest: it feels weird to write about a story I wrote. It feels weirder to put it under a headline that says “Best of the Week". But, I'll take some personal liberties (and make my mom happy) by including it in this esteemed list.

All I hope is that Manu Joseph doesn't write a piece saying that the BOTW list has now been devalued, now that I've included this piece in it.

💳 After weeks of “research", I wrote about HDFC Swiggy credit card. While well-intentioned in its approach, the execution of cashbacks and poor customer support was disappointing. The aggresive capping on rewards left a lot to be desired as well. But if you use Swiggy often — think, at least five times a week —this is a good saver. Here's my review of the credit card.

My two week-long stint under Neil gave me a peek into how the team conducts their stories. It's a collaborative effort, and I got feedback from most members of the team. It's no wonder that the stories and accompanying graphics come out so well.

🏠 Shipra Singh wrote about long term capital gains tax, a constant thorn that investors are trying to avoid. Turns out there is a way — if the proceeds go towards buying a home. Read this helpful piece if you have a lumpsum coming through some investments, and you also have home buying on your radar.

👨‍👩‍👧 For many people, investing for a child's future begins right after the child is born. Aprajita Sharma speaks to parents who have done that, and outlines the various schemes that are made for investors who want to invest in their kid's name. She also talks about the downsides like tax implications — quite a helpful article if you're a parent!

Mint's newsroom also broke a few key investment-related stories this past week:

🧳 The promoters of India's largest luggage maker, VIP, are looking for an exit. The Dilip Piramal-led group wants to offload its luggage. The transaction could be valued at as much as $1 billion, sources told Ranjani Raghavan.

🏨 Ranjani and Sneha Shah also wrote about a possible investment in Oyo. Once a the darling of the Indian startup industry, Oyo has seen the plot unravel over the last few years as cracks started to appear in its business model. An IPO looked like the end goal, but that too has been pushed back. General Atlantic and Norwest Venture Partners are looking into the hospitality company, and might provide some cash to secure the road to the eventual IPO.

📉 Anirudh Laskar wrote about Vedanta's mining arm Vedanta Resources nearly reaching a deal to refinance $3 billion of its debt, which would stave off a default. The Anil Agarwal-led company has run into a lot of trouble, with Agarwal announcing a grand demerger to free up some money from unsevered businesses.

💪 A few days after that report, an undaunted Agarwal spoke to Mihir Mishra and Satish John. He spoke about the refinancing, demergers, and the parent company's cashflow, denigrating any potential criticism of his conglomerate and showing confidence in the way ahead.

💨 Vedanta has a pretty huge coal business. They have good reason to be bullish on it: Sumant Banerji writes that India will still be reliant on coal for years to come. Despite global pressure to turn green and India's growing sustainable power efforts, India's current power needs rely overwhelmingly on the polluting fossil fuel.

💼 Blackstone Inc is India's largest office landlord. And the headaches of being a landlord haven't been easy. Exits have been few and far between for the US-based investment group, and there are no big-ticket investments to be made that are on the horizon. Madhurima Nandy outlines the troubles that ail Blackstone.

🏆🏏 I'll end this week's piece by including a great piece about the cricket world cup. Tanay Sukumar and Shuja Asrar illustrate the main attractions of the great sporting spectacle, including the advertising gala that gets affected if India or Pakistan fail to progress in the tournament. This one has some great charts —kudos to our Plain Facts team!

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

If you have any thoughts, credit card-related discussions, ideas, or feedback on our journalism (or subscription), please feel free to write to me (shashwat.mohanty@htdigital.in). We're a perpetually evolving news product, so any and every input is 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: 07 Oct 2023, 06:17 AM IST
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