News in Numbers, Oct 28, 2016: Powerful yet weakening…

58%

What is it? The decline in global populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles between 1970 and 2012, according to a report by the WWF and the Zoological Society of London.

Why is it important? If the trend continues, global wildlife population could see a potential decline could reach two-thirds by 2020. And, the top threats to species are linked to human activities, which include habitat loss, degradation and overexploitation of wildlife. Biodiversity is the foundation of healthy forests, rivers and oceans and with a decline in wildlife, this is likely to result in ecosystems collapsing – this includes clean water, air, food and climate services.

Tell me more: In India, about 41% of mammals, 46% of reptiles, 57% of amphibians, 7% of birds and 70% of freshwater fish are threatened with extinction while four of the 386 species of mammals analysed are already extinct.

 

61

What is it? The number of individuals and entities in India charged by the US Justice Department for their alleged involvement in a scam where at least five Indian call centres based in Ahmedabad are suspected to be involved.

Why is it important? In this massive scam, which has been in operation since 2013, 15,000 people have been cheated of more than $250 million. Callers from India posed as Internal Revenue Service and Department of Homeland Security officials and asked victims in the US to pay up to clear up tax dues or debt and threatened them with imprisonment, arrest, deportation or fines if they failed to do so. Their co-conspirators would then collect the funds from the victims, launder and transfer them to India.

Tell me more: The three-year-investigation by the US authorities is reportedly the largest law enforcement action ever against a telephone scam. US would be seeking extradition of those based in India.

 

$3.1 billion

What is it? The total value of private equity exits in the quarter ended September, up 29% from a year-ago period, according to a report.

Why is it important? Indicates the attractiveness of India as an investment destination. However, in the last quarter, deal value of private equity and venture capital investments declined by 45% to $8.2 billion on a year-on-year basis while deal volume fell by 24% to 287 transactions. Private equity firms preferred to exit through public market sales and strategic sales.

Tell me more: Sectors including telecom, information technology and healthcare witnessed an increase in strategic sales that drove the increase in number of PE exits in the quarter, according to the report by consulting firm Bain and Co.

 

18%

What is it? The stake held by the Shapoorji Pallonji Group (SPG) in Tata Sons, the holding company of the Tata group of companies.

Why is it important? The Tata family trusts are reportedly reaching out to sovereign wealth funds and other long-term investors to buy out the stake held by the SPG in the Tata group’s holding company if it became available for purchase. This is the result of a fallout between the Tatas and Cyrus Mistry (son of Pallonji Mistry, chairman of SPG) when the latter was ousted at a board meeting of Tata Sons on Monday. The spat turned uglier after Mistry listed a number of allegations against the group, which hinted at possible breach of corporate governance norms. The Tata group has hit back at Mistry saying his allegations are malicious and his claims unsubstantiated.

Tell me more: Meanwhile, a committee has been constituted to look for the next chairman and reportedly, the shortlisted candidates are N Chandrasekaran (CEO of Tata Consultancy Services), Ralf Speth (chief of Jaguar Land Rover) and Noel Tata (chairman of Trent Ltd who is also a member of the founding family and Mistry’s brother-in-law).

 

350

What is it? The approximate number of employees Twitter will layoff, representing about 9% of its staff strength.

Why is it important? The social networking firm had laid off a similar number of employees (up to 336) last year, which was about 8.2% of its workforce. This is part of its efforts to cut costs (and post profits in 2017) even as its recent attempts at selling the company failed. The firm expects to book $10-20 million in workforce restructuring charges. Having struggled to keep pace with the likes of Facebook and Snapchat, Twitter also announced it would shut down Vine video app, which it acquired for $30 million in 2012.

Tell me more: Twitter’s revenue rose 8.2% to $616 million while its user base increased by 3% to 317 million average monthly users during its fiscal 2016 third quarter ended September 30.

 

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