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Back to Newsletter Vol 3, Issue 02, May 2021
Business Strategy
This case discusses how India-based B2B foodtech platform HungerBox has disrupted the institutional foodtech space in the country by providing technology solutions to companies for digitizing their cafeteria operations. The foodtech startup follows a unique business model wherein it serves as a Technology solution provider as well as a Food Vendor Partner aggregator. As of November 2020, HungerBox was available in 23 cities across India, managing over 530 cafeterias and serving more than 75 corporate clients. As HungerBox tries to consolidate its position in the competitive foodtech space in India and expand globally, it is likely to face some challenges relating to intense competition from its rivals, turning profitable, building trust among customers and food vendors, and adapting to the new normal post COVID-19. It remains to be seen whether HungerBox can emerge as the largest foodtech platform disrupting cafeterias across the globe.

HungerBox: Disrupting the B2B FoodTech Space in India
The case discusses the acquisition of Zoox by Amazon. The deal was expected to help Amazon consolidate its efforts at automating its distribution network, especially its last-mile delivery service. However, many common shareholders of Zoox were not happy with the deal. They went to court and filed a lawsuit against Zoox, alleging that the proceeds of its sale were dwarfed by the bonuses paid to Zoox’s executives by Amazon. The completion of the merger deal was crucial as it would ensure the commercial launch of Zoox’s ride-hailing service by the end of 2020. The launch had already been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amazon’s Acquisition of Self-driving Car Startup Zoox
The case examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the business of the Mumbai dabbawalas, a 130-year-old organization primarily engaged in delivering lunchboxes mostly from customers’ homes to their offices in the city. The case study then focuses on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the dabbawalas’ regular business and their struggle to eke out a living during the lockdown period. It goes on to describe how the dabbawalas decided to leverage their core competencies to take a relook at their iconic business model following the lockdown. The dabbawalas entered into partnerships with various organizations to offer different delivery services, including the delivery of fresh vegetables to households from December 2020. They also planned to use a mobile application in future to facilitate their delivery services.

Mumbai’s Dabbawalas: Moving Beyond Their Iconic Business Model Post COVID-19
The case is about the exit strategy adopted by Harley Davidson Inc. (Harley) in India. The iconic American motorcycle brand had ventured into India in 2009 with its heavyweight cruiser bikes. But it was not able to capture the market due to the high cost of its bikes and its failure to read the Indian mindset. The case dwells on the circumstances that led to Harley entering the Indian market and the challenges faced by it. Burdened with increasing losses, Harley had decided to exit the Indian market as part of the ‘rewire strategy’ adopted by its parent company. The case details the strategy adopted by Harley and discusses its planned exit and how it later decided to shelve its exit plan and enter instead into a strategic alliance with Hero MotoCorp to sell and service its bikes and other merchandise in the Indian market. It remains to be seen whether the strategic alliance with the Hero Group will bring Harley success.

Harley Davidson Hits a Roadblock in India – Takes a U-turn
The case talks about the factors that led to N26, a Germany-based neobank, becoming the highest valued German startup and one of the highest valued FinTechs in the world. The case starts with a brief history of N26. It covers the innovative products and services launched by N26 which helped it to connect with millions of customers. The case also highlights the competition faced by N26 from FinTech companies like Revolut, Monzo Bank Ltd. (Monzo), and Atom Bank and how it was placed vis-à-vis the competition. The case ends with the future plans of N26 which include redesigning its banking operations and expanding geographically.

N26: Europe’s Leading Challenger Bank
Reliance Retail Ventures Limited (Reliance Retail), a subsidiary of leading Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), has been on an acquisition spree with the objective of gaining a significant market share in the Indian retail segment, including both the online and offline segments. In November 2020, Reliance Retail acquired a stake in a leading online furniture start-up Urban Ladder Home Decor Solutions Private Limited (Urban Ladder) for Rs. 1,821.20 million. This was the fourth acquisition by Reliance Retail during the financial year 2020-21. The present case study provides scope to discuss the different acquisitions made by Reliance Retail and discusses how these acquisitions could help the company in gaining significant market share in the Indian retail market competing against Amazon.com Inc, Flipkart India Private Limited, and other retail players.

Reliance Retail Acquires Urban Ladder
The case is about the agritech platform started by Star Agribazaar Technology Limited (Agribazaar). The company provided innovative solutions to farmers to trade their agri produce on its online platform. The solutions provided by Agribazaar were agri-trading, warehousing, finance and payments, and precision agriculture. The case starts off with the impact and success of the agri trading solutions of Agribazaar during the COVID-19 pandemic period. The case looks at the need for digitization of agriculture in India and the initiatives taken by the Government of India to enable digitization in agriculture. Agribazaar’s smart solutions are discussed in detail. The Agribazaar online trading platform and the market linkages provided on the platform enabled farmers to get the right price for their produce. The company had introduced the concept of ‘Agri–micropreneurs’, which was successful in various states of India. Agribazaar planned to replicate the model in other states and also include farmers of cash crops such as cardamom, pepper, and coffee on its digital platform. It remained to be seen whether its initiatives would bring forth results and enable the farmers of India to get better prices for their agri-produce.

Agribazaar: An Online Marketplace for Trading in Agricultural Commodities in India
India-based Aurobindo Pharma Limited (Aurobindo) is a leading Indian multinational pharmaceutical company. In the month of October 2020, Aurobindo announced the divestiture of its US subsidiary Natrol Inc. to an investment management company for US$ 550 million (Rs. 40,480 million). The deal was expected to provide a strategic advantage to Aurobindo by improving its financial position and also to help it focus on strategic acquisitions and research and development activities. The present case can be used to discuss the Indian pharmaceutical industry and the investment strategies of the pharma players in India, and also discuss the concepts of mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, and leverages in the context of the Natrol divestiture.

Aurobindo’s Divestiture of Natrol
The case focuses on the legal aspects of mergers and acquisitions that multinational companies in India face. The scope of Foreign Direct Investment in the retail business in India is subject to several regulatory conditions. The case can be used to understand the Indian retail scenario, organized retail in the country, and the opportunities and challenges in the e-commerce retail segment in the country.

Amazon and Future Group Controversy
Flipkart, an e-commerce giant in India, part of the US-based Walmart Inc., was looking to expand its base in the Indian markets to face the competition from e-commerce players Reliance JioMart and Amazon Inc. At the same time, major Indian apparel retailer Birla Fashion was looking at expanding its online presence. Birla Fashion decided to partner with Flipkart, and sold a stake to the e-commerce giant. The sale of stake in Birla Fashion to Flipkart provides an opportunity for both the entities to leverage on their strengths and to gain a significant presence in the market. The present case study can be helpful to understand the prevailing scenario in the Indian retail markets and the role of the e-commerce business in the Indian retail segment.

Flipkart Acquires a Stake in Birla Fashion
India-based TATA Steel Limited (TSL) had been expanding its operations globally, and had made significant investments in that direction. Even with strong financial support and expertise, TSL had been facing the challenges of a demand crunch and competition from low cost steel imported from China. TSL’s Europe business units had been facing tough times given the market challenges and competition. As a result, the debt burden on the European business units had increased, and they were depending on the parent company for financial support. Despite several attempts to streamline the UK business operations, TSL was not able achieve much of a breakthrough since 2016. However, the financial year 2020-21 was much more challenging for all companies in the steel business, making them look for strategic sale options or strategic associations. In the process, SSAB AB of Sweden initiated a dialogue to acquire TSL’s Netherlands AB business unit, IJmuiden steel mill, and related downstream assets, as a part of its strategic investment choice. However, the deal was not finalized as expected.

SSAB Calls off Plan to acquire TATA Steel Netherlands BV

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