ET’s weekly roundup of the wackiest whispers and murmurs in corporate corridors & policy parlours:


No prizes for guessing which desi founder led the tirade against the FAANG grouping at the closed-door meeting of the parliamentary panel to discuss the alleged anti-competitive behaviour of Big Tech last week. It’s the complainant known as Mr Anonymous or simply XYZ in the 2019 case against Alphabet at the Competition Commission of India (CCI). He officially went by that name throughout the case, which the regulator thought had merit enough to launch a full-blown probe. A participant said the founder, still combative after a not-so-happy debut on Dalal St, had the most to say against the Big Tech companies and their ways. His beef now extends to payments. Guess some wounds are still sore.

(Beyond) Death Do Us Part

Last week the legal fraternity was shocked to hear about a mass migration of over 60 lawyers from one firm to another within a year of a bitter split that cut the first firm in two. While we were scratching our heads to figure out the reason behind such a mutiny, insiders helped us piece it together. Turns out that after the death of one of the senior partners, his heirs, including his sister, wanted his equity in perpetuity. While the senior-most named partner gave in, others disagreed vehemently over such an arrangement and negotiated a deal with the rival firm that was on the lookout for senior human resources to beef up its Delhi practice.

Love Aaj Kal

Remember we had told you about the tragic love life of this NRI magnate who runs an engineering and construction empire out of Dubai. A quick recap: After divorcing his wife, he fell head over heels for a lady with royal Emirati connections and even built a mansion with multiple bedrooms for each of her kids from a previous marriage. Alas, she cancelled the nuptials just days before the grand shaadi. But we are happy to announce Cupid has struck again and he got married to an East European lady, showering her with jewels fit for a princess.

Auction Action

Seasoned collectors, including the grand dame of the Indian art frat, are smarting these days is what we learn. There’s an upstart in town who is giving her a serious run for her money over canvases in recent art auctions. A young Harvard alum, scion of a business family with interests in coal mining, conveyor belts and insurance, has been trumping competition and is believed to have amassed a significant collection, which some buyers say has crossed the eight-figure mark in just six months. Apparently, he only bids for works that are Rs 10 crore and above. Guess monetising his stake in his insurance JV last year has given him enough ammo to take on the tech billions.

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Pilgrim’s Progress?

A bunch of millionaire party boys from Mumbai jetsetted to Barcelona and Milan recently for some bro time. Most of the members were the usual brat pack known for their fancy toys, smart suits, flamboyant partners and wine collections. What was odd though, said a little bird, was the addition of a bureaucrat to that weekend jaunt. This was just when the state’s political temperature was getting hotter by the hour. We don’t know if the concerned babu, who we are told paid for all his expenses, went and prayed at the Sagrada Família, but it seems the Gods have listened and last heard he’s snapped up a plum posting in the newly formed state government.

‘Over the Top’ Startups

After the success of the Shark Tank show in India, everyone wants to script a startup series it seems. A global production house, known for its super-hit reality TV shows, is scouting for Young Turks to feature in its brand new show on bootstrapping and disruptive entrepreneurs. Negotiations are ongoing with at least two mega OTT platforms and simultaneously strict non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) are getting inked with the companies that are being cherry picked and showcased. And here folks are talking about funding winter and season of woes.


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