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Global VC investment falls for 3rd straight quarter: Report

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Global VC investment fell for the third straight quarter, from $136.8 billion in the second quarter of 2022 to $87 billion in the third quarter of 2022, a new report said on Thursday.

According to the Q3’22 edition of Venture Pulse — a quarterly report, published by KPMG Private Enterprise, the number of global VC deals dropped from 10,425 in the second quarter of 2022 to 7,817 in the third quarter of 2022 — the lowest level in almost five years.

“Significant market volatility, ongoing geopolitical and economic turmoil, including fears of a recession, have led to a continued and significant cooling of global VC funding,” Jonathan Lavender, Global Head, KPMG Private Enterprise, KPMG International, said in a statement.

“Despite five deals closing with values over $1 billion, the VC environment has seen the overall number of deals drop to its lowest levels since 2017 and the value of those deals slump to mid-2020 levels; the peak of the pandemic and lockdowns,” Lavender added.

The US accounted for $43 billion in VC investment in the third quarter of 22, nearly half of the global total.

VC investment across the Americas declined from $76.6 billion to $45.6 billion quarter-over-quarter.

Meanwhile, Europe experienced a sharp drop in VC investment between the second quarter of 2022 and the third quarter of 2022, from $31 billion to $18.7 billion.

Business

Centre asks Vodafone Idea to convert Rs 16,000 dues into equity

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Financially-stressed telecom company Vodafone Idea said on Friday that the government has directed it to convert a portion of its dues worth Rs 16,000 crore it owes to the exchequer into equity in the government’s favour.

“It is hereby informed that the Ministry of Communications has [directed] the company to convert the NPV of the interest related to deferment of spectrum auction instalments and AGR dues into equity shares to be issued to the government of India,” the company said in a filing.

The government will take 33 per cent equity in Vodafone Idea after converting all interest related to payments for spectrum and other dues into equity.

This will make the government the largest shareholder in the telecom company.

Vodafone Idea will convert dues of Rs 16,133 crore into equity and issue shares for Rs 10 each, the company informed.

“We had sought a firm commitment that the Aditya Birla Group would run the company and bring necessary investments. The Birlas have agreed and hence we have agreed to convert. We want India to be a three-player market plus BSNL and ensure healthy competition for consumers,” Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said in a statement.

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I-T dept raids over 30 locations of five builder groups across Jaipur

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The Income Tax department on Thursday raided over 30 locations of five builder groups across Jaipur. The teams also conducted search operations at two locations of a builder group in Gurugram.

Officials said that the I-T department had received a tip-off that these builders were engaged in making cash deals while selling flats in multi-storey buildings, plots and commercial properties in Jaipur.

After verification, 40 teams of the investigating branch of the I-T department raided their locations on Thursday morning. Raids have been conducted at the premises of Manglam Group, Sanjivani, R-Tech, Jugal Derewala and Haridutt, including their offices, corporate offices and residential premises.

The I-T teams have raided places in Jaipur including Tonk Road, Mansarovar, Rajapark, Jagatpura, C-Scheme, Civil Lines, Ajmer Road, Delhi Road, Agra Road and Sanganer.

Sources said that the department had received complaints of undisclosed income running into crores of rupees. All the five builders were using cash to buy and sell land. So the I-T teams raided around 38 targets simultaneously. According to the information received so far, huge amount of cash, and documents of land purchase and sale have been found from their premises.

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Reliance Retail begins accepting govt’s digital rupee for sales

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Reliance Retail on Thursday announced it has begun accepting retail payments via the Indian government’s Digital Rupee across its stores in the country.

Reliance Retail launched the first in-store acceptance of the RBI-created and Blockchain-based Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) at its gourmet food store Freshpik here.

The CBDC is the a digital version of fiat money that will co-exist will hard cash.

“This historic initiative of pioneering the digital currency acceptance at our stores is in line with the company’s strategic vision of offering the power of choice to Indian consumers,” said V. Subramaniam, Director, Reliance Retail.

“With more Indians willing to transact digitally, this initiative will help us provide yet another efficient and secure alternative payment method to customers at our stores,” he added in a statement.

Reliance Retail has collaborated with ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank and fintech Innoviti Technologies to launch the in-store support for the digital rupee.

“Digital Rupee fulfils the need of consumers who still prefer the trust, safety and settlement finality of physical currency,” said Rajeev Agrawal, Founder and CEO of Innoviti Technologies.

The RBI kicked off the first phase of a retail CBDC pilot in four cities and involving four key banks late last year.

A CBDC can play a key role in providing access to digital payments without the requirement of a bank account and the access would be facilitated by a central bank-issued digital wallet.

Use of e-rupee is expected to make the inter-bank market more efficient.

Settlement in central bank money would reduce transaction costs by pre-empting the need for settlement guarantee infrastructure or for collateral to mitigate settlement risk.

Going forward, other wholesale transactions, and cross-border payments will be the focus of future pilots, based on the learnings from this pilot project.

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