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Summary: Newsmakers: Featuring Sundar Pichai, Subrata Roy, Lalit Modi, Anand Piramal, Yusuffali M.A. and Harsh V. Lodha.

Alpha Bets on Sundar Pichai

Google has come up with a new algorithm, and India is written all over it. The search giant has elevated Sundar Pichai, the Chennai-born executive and IIT Kharagpur graduate, as its new CEO. This time the computing of co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin is bang on target as Pichai was believed to have been a contender for the CEO's role at Twitter.

Googles corporate restructuring plan also included the formation of an umbrella company, Alphabet.

After Satya Nadella's elevation as the CEO of Microsoft and Shantanu Narayen's appointment as Adobe CEO, people of Indian origin are now running some of the most powerful companies in the world. While it is not clear how much Pichai would be paid for his new role, it is safe to say he is likely to be one of the highest paid executives.

In a League

The name of former Indian Premier League chief Lalit Modi cropped up during Sahara chief Subrata Roy's ongoing court case in the Supreme Court. In the course of recent hearings, the apex court was informed that Roy's London-based son Sushanto Roy told a US-based consultant to approach Modi when he came up with an offer to buy the group's stakes in New York's Plaza and Dream Downtown hotels for $800 million. Sahara counsel Kapil Sibal told the court about the recent offers received by the group, including for London's Grosvenor House.

It is unclear as to how this Sahara episode will play out, but the court has allowed its jailed chief to continue availing special negotiation facilities in a conference room at the Tihar jail complex till September-end.

Realty Check

At a time when builders are staring at rising inventories and sluggish sales, Anand Piramal, Executive Director, Piramal Group ,and the main driver of Piramal Realty, is sewing up deals at a rapid clip, declaring his long-term plans from the rooftop. First, he roped in PE giant Warburg Pincus, which pumped in Rs 1,800 crore into the real estate company, touted as the biggest FDI in the sector. Recently, the Wall Street investment bank Goldman Sachs stamped its approval of the company's expansion plans by picking up a Rs 900 crore minority stake. Piramal has laid the foundation for world-class projects in and around Mumbai.

Scotland Yard Busted

When Yusuffali M.A. landed in the UAE in the 1970s, he was just another Keralite looking for a pot of gold. The MD of Lulu Group International, a supermarket operator, has certainly found it. He recently picked up the historic Scotland Yard building, the Metrolpolitan Police Headquarters at Londons St Jamess Park (1829 to 1890) for a cool $171 million. He plans to turn the site into a luxury hotel, The Great Scotland Yard. All that has been retained of the grand original Edwardian building are the outer facades, while the interiors are being ripped off and redone to even create a vast basement complex.

Cracks in the Deal?

Will the ownership dispute between the Birla family and the Lodhas scupper the Rs 5,000-crore cement deal between Lafarge India and Birla Corporation's flagship M.P. Birla Group? Those tracking developments says that though the day-to-day affairs of Birla Corp. is managed by Harsh Lodha, its ownership is under legal dispute between the Lodhas and the Birla family, the original founders. The widow of M.P. Birla, Priyamvada Birla, had named the companys chartered accountant R.S. Lodha, Harsh's father, as the heir to her entire estate estimated at $1 billion. This is being contested by the Birla family.

If all goes well, Lafarge India's two cement units will be acquired by M.P. Birla Group. However, approvals from the shareholders as well as the court is required for the deal to be consummated.

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Publication:Business Today
Date:Sep 13, 2015
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