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Indian-descent Silicon Valley securities analyst charged with insider trading

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New York: A young Silicon Valley investment banker of Indian descent and two of his friends have been charged with insider trading in a scheme that allegedly netted them more than $600,000, Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell announced Tuesday.

J.P. Morgan Securities analyst Ashish Aggarwal and his friends,who surrendered to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and were arrested, face securities fraud, conspiracy and wire fraud charges, Caldwell said.

Aggarwal, 27, who worked in the JP Morgan San Francisco office, allegedly got inside information about upcoming mergers and acquisitions which he shared them with his friend Shahriyar Bolandian, 26. He in turn relayed them to another friend, and Kevan Sadigh, 28, the FBI said in a press release.

Bolandian and Sadigh then allegedly used the inside information to trade in advance of the public announcements of Integrated Device Technology Inc.’s April 2012 planned acquisition of PLX Technology Inc., and Salesforce.com Inc.’s June 2013 acquisition of ExactTarget Inc., the FBI said.

Their $600,000-profit apparently didn’t finance luxuries. The FBI said they allegedly used the profits to pay off liabilities and cover the trading losses of Bolandian and Sadigh.

Aggarwal is the latest person of Indian origin to face insider trading charges in the US. Rajat Gupta, a former CEO of the consultancy company, McKinsey, is the best known of them and was convicted in 2012 for insider trading with Raj Rajaratnam, a hedge fund operator of Sri Lankan origin. Anil Kumar, a former McKinsey employee, pleaded guilty in the samw case.

In April this year, Amit Kanodia, a private equity investor, and Iftikar Ahmed, a general partner at a venture capital firm, were charged with insider trading.

Attorney Shivbir Grewal and his wife, Preetinder Grewal, were charged last December with insider trading.

Last September, hedge fund portfolio manager Matthew Martoma received a nine-year sentence for insider trading.

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Zomato acquires UberEats India for nearly Rs 2,500 crore

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New Delhi: Zomato on Tuesday announced that it has acquired Uber’s Food Delivery Business in India in an all-stock deal and Uber will have 9.99 per cent stake in the Deepinder Goyal-led food delivery platform.

According to sources close to the deal, it is in the range of over $350 million or nearly Rs 2,500 crore.

Uber Eats in India will discontinue operations and direct restaurants, delivery partners, and users of the Uber Eats apps to the Zomato platform, effective from Tuesday.

“We are proud to have pioneered restaurant discovery and to have created a leading food delivery business across more than 500 cities in India. This acquisition significantly strengthens our position in the category,” said Goyal, Founder and CEO, Zomato.

According to company sources, for the first three quarters of 2019, “our Uber Eats business comprised 3 per cent of our global Eats gross bookings, but was more than 25 per cent of our global Eats Segment Adjusted EBITDA losses”.

Uber started its food delivery service in India around mid-2017, but has not been able to scale up in the face of big players like Zomato and Swiggy.

It currently has nearly 26,000 restuarants listed on its platform from over 40 cities.

The market is piping hot as according to a recent study by business consultancy firm Market Research Future, the online food ordering market in India is likely to grow at over 16 per cent annually to touch $17.02 billion by 2023.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said that the Uber Eats team in India has achieved an incredible amount over the last two years.

“India remains an exceptionally important market to Uber and we will continue to invest in growing our local Rides business, which is already the clear category leader,” said Khosrowshahi.

“We have been very impressed by Zomato’s ability to grow rapidly in a capital-efficient manner and we wish them continued success,” he added.

On January 10, Zomato had announced that it has secured $150 million in fresh funding from Ant Financial, a subsidiary of China-based giant Alibaba.

The latest round of funding in Zomato, which currently value the company at $3 billion, is part of $600 million funding round announced by Zomato CEO Goyal at a Delhi event last December.

The deal comes in the wake of merger talks between Zomato and Swiggy, whoch both the companies have denied to date.

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