AUDI, MERC, BMW TEAM UP TO BUY NOKIA HERE MAPSGerman carmakers BMW, Audi and Mercedes will pay around 2.5 billion euros (US$ 2.8 billion) to buy Nokia’s maps business, beating out high-tech rivals for location services seen as key to the future of self-driving cars. The three will hold equal stakes in the business, known as HERE, and the transaction is likely to close in the first quarter of 2016. The deal allows the auto makers to offer new premium features, including autonomous driving, in their luxury cars, shaking up the pecking order between car makers, parts suppliers and software rivals such as Uber, Google or Apple. RLY ENGINEER TO PILOT AIR INDIA REVIVAL A railway engineer credited with restoring the world's oldest working steam locomotive to run as the 'Fairy Queen' between Delhi and Alwar has now been entrusted with the unenviable task of reviving Air India. The government on Thursday chose Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation chief Ashwani Lohani to be the next AI Chairman and MD. “A lot of thought has gone into selecting the AI chief,“ aviation secretary R N Choubey said. Lohani will succeed senior IAS officer Rohit Nandan, who completed four years as AI chairman on Thursday and is now empanelled as secretary. Nandan has got a month's extension to enable the change of guard. “Turnaround specialist“ Lohani will be working in close coordination with Choubey, who was recently brought in by the PMO to speed things up at the aviation ministry.
INDIGO ORDERS 250 PLANES FOR US$ 27 BN
IndiGo, India's largest airline by domestic market share has placed a firm order for 250 Airbus A320 neo (new engine option) aircraft, with a list price of US$ 26.5 billion. The nine-year-old LCC (low cost carrier) now has 530 Airbus aircrafts on order, and has so far received 100 of them. In terms of number of planes ordered in one go, IndiGo's order for 250 aircraft is the biggest ever. In terms of value of planes ordered, it is second only to the 200 wide-body Airbus and Boeing aircraft ordered by Emirates at the Dubai air show in November 2013, with a combined list price of US$ 99 billion. IndiGo, India's only consistently profitable airline which has placed record orders of 100, 180 since 2005 and now 250 A320s, will get the latest ordered planes between 2018 and 2026. SNAPDEAL VALUED AT US$ 5 BILLION AS ALIBABA, FOXCONN COME ONBOARD Snapdeal.com, India’s second-largest e-commerce firm, has raised US$ 500 million in a fresh round of investor funding led by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, Foxconn Technology and Softbank Group. Existing investors Temasek, BlackRock, Myriad and Premji Invest also participated in the round. According to Reuters, this deal values Snapdeal at more than US$ 5 billion. “This investment in Snapdeal enhances our exposure to India’s burgeoning e-commerce industry. Snapdeal has a strong presence in mobile commerce and it fits our strategy of investing in innovative companies that are transforming the way people transact,” said an Alibaba spokeswoman via email.