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Judge rules for AT&T in landmark merger with Time Warner

The merger received a lot of attention in the industry and beyond. While it’s hardly new for mergers to receive regulatory scrutiny, this acquisition involved two companies with little direct overlap in their businesses. Cable company Comcast has combined with NBCUniversal while Verizon acquired the Internet assets of Yahoo and others.

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AT&T Inc Time Warner Inc

Dallas’ AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is poised to add one of the largest media companies in the nation after a federal court ruled in favor of its long-sought acquisition of Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX).

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon Tuesday rejected the federal government’s petition to block the merger, giving the green light to the $85 billion deal, according to CNBC. The judge also didn’t impose any conditions on the merger’s approval, CNBC said.

For AT&T, the deal is crucial, transforming the company still known for the humble telephone into a major media player, adding to its businesses that include broadband, wireless and DIRECTV. Now, Dallas is home to the parent company that oversees major properties such as HBO, Warner Bros. and Turner. Together, the companies can take on the rapidly changing industry with the new players such as Amazon.com and Netflix.

Shares of AT&T fell in after-market trading. As of 3:54 p.m. Dallas time, the stock was down about 1 percent.

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Fiscal slippage remains a risk for rate cut: Report

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India economy

New Delhi, Jan 17 While concerns of liquidity, coupled with declining inflation, may have prompted the industry to expect a rate cut in RBI’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting from February 7, fears of fiscal slippage may turn out to be a spoiler, a report said.

“There is a high likelihood of a change in RBI stance from ‘calibrated tightening’ to ‘neutral’ with a possible rate cut in the next MPC meeting. Fiscal slippage, however, continues to be a risk for rate cut,” JM Financial said in its report on Thursday.

Though the government maintains confidence in meeting the 3.3 per cent fiscal deficit target for this fiscal, the deficit in the first eight months till November stands at Rs 7.17 lakh crore, or 114.8 per cent of the Rs 6.24 lakh crore full year’s target.

Ahead of the RBI’s monetary policy review, India Inc on Thursday urged the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to cut its interest rate and the cash reserve ratio (CRR) to infuse liquidity in the economy and boost growth.

In a meeting with RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das, who will preside over his first MPC meeting on February 7, leading industry chambers also suggested various measures to ease the ongoing liquidity crunch and reduce the high cost of credit.

JM Financial has predicted that CPI inflation over the next three months to inch up from the current levels, but will remain in the range of RBI’s forecast, which is 2.7 per cent to 3.2 per cent.

The double digit food inflation during 2008-14 was tamed to mid-single digits over the last four years owing to easing agri-imports in a declining global agri-commodity price environment and steady yield improvements, it said.

The report, however, mentioned that in the last three months, food inflation has turned negative and that its study indicates a build-up of excess supply in several food categories (pulses, fruits and vegetables, sugar, milk etc.) exerting price pressure.

“Liquidity challenges have also adversely impacted economic activity, as per our channel checks,” it added.

The report also takes note of liquidity challenges in the rural economy saying the low food inflation does have calming impact on the overall inflation, but a sustained low inflation regime can also lead to adverse impact on rural income and can be a cause of social unrest, it warns.

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Sensex ends 52 points up, Nifty holds 10,900

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Sensex Nifty Equity

Mumbai, Jan 17: Amid mixed global markets and the ongoing corporate earning session, Indian equities ended higher on Thursday. Ahead of the release of quarterly results by index heavyweights, the Sensex closed with a 52 point gain while the Nifty ended above 10,900.

According to market participants, investors were cautious ahead of the third quarter results by Reliance Industries and Hindustan Unilever, to be announced later in the day.

The S&P BSE Sensex closed 52.79 points of 0.15 per cent higher after it shuttled between a high of 36,468.42 and a low of 36,170.80.

It opened close to 100 points up at 36,413.60 from its previous close of 36,321.29.

The broader Nifty ended in the green, up 14.90 points and 0.14 per cent.

Oil and gas and finance scrips led the gains on the Sensex. The index pivotal, banking stocks erased early losses to end flat while the healthcare stocks declined 0.90 per cent.

Stock-wise, Axis Bank, HCL, HDFC, TCS and Kotak Mahindra gained in the range of 1 to 2 per cent.

In contrast, Sun Pharma lost over 5 per cent followed by Yes Bank which declined over 3 per cent.

State Bank of India, Bajaj Finance, Hindustan Unileiver declined between 1 to 2 per cent.

Globally, markets traded on a mixed note amid political uncertainty in the UK over Brexit and the longest-ever partial shutdown of the US government.

However, British Prime Minister Theresa May won a confidence vote in the House of Commons on Wednesday, averting any immediate risk of an early general election.

IANS

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RBI relaxes external commercial borrowing norms

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Reserve Bank of India

New Delhi, Jan 16 : The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Wednesday announced a new framework for external commercial borrowings (ECBs) and rupee-denominated bonds in a bid to improve ease of doing business.

As per the new framework, all eligible borrowers can now raise external commercial borrowings up to $750 million or equivalent per financial year under the automatic route, replacing the existing sector-wise limits.

It also set the minimum average maturity period at three years for all external commercial borrowings irrespective of the amount.

Previously, the RBI had only allowed companies to borrow up to $50 million for three years. For funds beyond $50 million, companies had to borrow for at least five years.

“Tracks I and II under the existing framework are merged as ‘Foreign Currency-denominated ECB’ and Track III and Rupee-denominated Bonds framework are combined as ‘Rupee Denominated ECB’ to replace the current four-tiered structure,” the RBI said in a statement.

It also expanded the list of eligible borrowers allowing all entities eligible to receive foreign direct investment to borrow under the ECB framework.

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