4th Herbert Smith Freehills - NLU Delhi International Negotiation Competition 2017

The 4th Herbert Smith Freehills - NLU Delhi International Negotiation Competition is being jointly organised by National Law University, Delhi and Herbert Smith Freehills LLP from 08-10 September.

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National Law University, Delhi in collaboration with Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is set to organise the 4th edition of the International Negotiation Competition from 08-10 September 2017.

The competition is the first of its kind in India  which brings together students of the top law universities across the globe. It introduces them to international negotiation and hones their skills, with the negotiation simulations closely imitating actual international environment. The problems comprise of a common set of facts known to all participants and confidential information known to only the participants representing a particular side.

In the third edition of the competition 30 teams participated, with the University of Sunshine Coast emerging as the overall winner. This edition promises to be even more exciting, with a total of 34 teams participating and which includes 22 teams flying down to India from across the globe.

The participants will first face two gruelling preliminary rounds. The first preliminary round, IN THE DRIVING SEAT, has a European ‘intermediary’ mobile taxi app giant, RideOn, negotiating an acquisition of an Indian based taxi service, HappyTaxi. While RideOn wishes to enter an emerging market whilst reworking its image as a socially responsible company, HappyTaxi has a known reputation for rejecting offers due to differing business values.

The second preliminary round, THE LION’S SHARE, takes us to Australia. The subsidiary of a large real estate business, IconEntertainment, and a leading energy drinks producer, BlueLion, are negotiating a new Joint-Venture to manage a music venue called ‘The Shell’. While BlueLion seeks to bring its youth-oriented brand image to the venue, IconEntertainment wants to first ensure a 50:50 financial commitment from them. 

As the teams dive into the quarter-finals, they will face the negotiation simulation called SPLASH DOWN. UK-based hydroelectric plant developer, Nymphs, will meet with US-based hydroelectric plant operators, Hydrom, for the sale of its latest Scottish project called Splash. Set amidst the political changes in Scotland coupled with harsh concerns, the future of the revolutionary plant is now at stake.

The semi-finals simulation is called A RACY SITUATION. ‘The Stable’ is a global stable with majority shareholding owned by NSWF. The CEO, Egon Mesk, is a stalwart of the industry. While the Stable had a glorious start, few poor seasons have recently led to termination of a major sponsorship. The majority shareholders want Mesk’s reign as CEO to come to an end, however he is unwilling to relent, having filed an injunction suit against them. The parties now meet to negotiate his position in The Stable.

Doing justice to what will be a power packed final round is a simulation called DANGER, HIGH VOLTAGE!  A major oil conglomerate, MOGL, following losses and bad publicity due to an oil spill, seeks to invest in an electric car company, Voltage, led by the eccentric CEO Ernie Tusk. Having dug up troublesome details about Voltage and Ernie during due diligence, MOGL now seeks this urgent meeting to discuss the future of their investment.

In addition to the valuable experience of interacting with teams from various countries, the competition has many rewards. At the end of the competition, the Best Negotiation Team is awarded a cash prize of 1000 GBP while the Runners Up will receive a cash prize of 500 GBP. The Best Negotiator and the team with the Best Negotiation Plan will receive a cash prize of 100 GBP each. The team which best represents the spirit of negotiation through their communication skills will receive the ‘Spirit of the Competition’ award alongside a cash prize of 100 GBP.

We look forward to seeing all the participating teams!

 

DAY 1: INAUGURAL CEREMONY, COMPETITION BRIEFING, AND PENALTY APPEALS 

18.00: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to the 4th Herbert Smith Freehills – NLU Delhi International Negotiation Competition, 2017, jointly organised by the National Law University, Delhi and Herbert Smith Freehills LLP. As the last of the teams are finishing with their registrations and we're about to start with the opening ceremony, we also begin with our live updates of the events. In this edition, we have 34 teams participating, which are:

  1. Auckland University of Technology
  2. Australian National University
  3. Bristol University
  4. Chuo University
  5. Dalhousie University
  6. Deakin University
  7. Durham University
  8. Exeter University
  9. Government Law College, Mumbai
  10. Gujarat National Law University
  11. Hidyatullah National Law University, Raipur
  12. ILS Law College, Pune
  13. Jindal Global Law School, Sonepat
  14. King's College, London
  15. Melbourne University
  16. Monash University
  17. NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad
  18. National Law School of India University, Bangalore
  19. National Law University, Jodhpur
  20. National Law University, Odisha
  21. National University of Singapore
  22. Obafemi Awolowo University
  23. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, Lucknow
  24. Rhodes University
  25. Sophia University
  26. University of Colombo
  27. University of Nairobi
  28. University of New South Wales
  29. University of Oxford
  30. University of Queensland
  31. University of Sunshine Coast
  32. University of Technology Sydney
  33. V.M. Salgaocar College of Law
  34. West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata 

18.05: And the proceedings are underway! On the dais this evening, we have Prof. (Dr.) Ranbir Singh, Vice-Chancellor, National Law University, Delhi, Mr. Chris Parsons, Chairman, India Practice, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, Mr. Mark Bardell, Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, and Prof. (Dr.) G. S. Bajpai, Registrar, National Law University, Delhi. Meanwhile, Aadya Chawla (Student Coordinator) introduces to us this illustrious panel and this edition of the compeition.

18.15: Prof. (Dr.) Ranbir Singh is set to deliver the welcome address. He begins by welcoming all the teams to the event. He expresses his thanks to Herbert Smith Freehills for their continued partnership with National Law University, Delhi. Prof. Singh also thanks the team of hard working students who have put in so much work in organising this huge event. He stresses the importance of an institution working as a team in order to achieve the best results. He talks about the growing technological change in the modern world, and the need for focus on the human emotional quotient. He highlights how lawyering is constantly evolving and emphasises the need to look to the future. He ends on a light note, cautioning the participants to be careful with the spicy Indian food. An extremely visionary speech!

18.30: Mr. Chris Parsons shall now deliver the Introductory Address to the participants of the competition. He begins by talking about the extraordinary evolution of the competition over the past 4 years. He talks to the participants about forming new friendships, and how every interaction should be made with a perspective to understand the cultural differences. On a lighter note, he warns the teams of the might of the Australian teams in the previous editions. He happily declares that India is a second home for him and that he is quite like an Indian in several ways. Mr. Parsons welcomes each team with a huge round of applause from the audience and extends special thanks to National Law University, Delhi. Mr. Daniel Matthew (Competition Administrator and Assistant Professor of Law, National Law University, Delhi) receives special mention, because of his great work in the inception of this event. Mr Parsons ends with expressing his gratitude to all the participants and encourages them to take a look at Delhi and the surrounding area, in order to take in the beauty of India. What an inspiring speech!

18.40: Mr. Mark Bardell shall now speak to the participants. He mentions that he only has two tips to the budding lawyers in the audience. First, to enjoy the work that they're doing here, and take in the different aspects of the competition. Second, he mentions the importance of listening in a negotiation and wishes all the teams the very best. Short and sweet!

18.45: Prof. (Dr.) G. S. Bajpai will now deliver the vote of thanks. He begins by thanking Mr Chris Parsons for his presence at the competition. He emphasises on the importance of negotiation in the modern world, and how it is an essential component of the curriculum in any legal institution. He also thanks Mr. Mark Bardell for his wise words, emphasising on the need to enjoy everything we do. He also thanks Mr Siddharth Shukla (Senior Associate, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP) for his contributions to the event. He highlights the achievements of the students of National Law University, Delhi, in collaboration with Herbert Smith Freehills, and their great enthusiasm regarding the event. He thanks Aadya Chawla and her team of students for their work behind the scenes in the organisation of this event. Prof. Bajpai ends with hearty thanks to all the teams present at the competition and wishing them the very best for the next two days of the competition!

18.55: The inaugural ceremony has now ended, and we will now proceed to the competition briefing and penalty appeals. Since the events are limited to participants only, we take your leave. Hope you will all tune in to the excitement tomorrow!

 

DAY 2: PRELIMINARY ROUND 1, PRELIMINARY ROUND 2

AND

QUARTER FINALS

 

PRELIMINARY ROUND 1: IN THE DRIVING SEAT

Room 1 - Moot Court Hall - Team 1 v Team 13

10:35 - Good morning, one and all! We are underway with an exciting matchup, here in the Moot Court Hall. Both teams begin with warm greetings and introductions on both sides. Team 1 takes the initiative and begins the negotiation, talking about the history of RideOn, and also acknowledging HappyTaxi's importance in the Indian market. HappyTaxi expresses its concern regarding finding the right person to hand over HappyTaxi to. The teams agree on setting an agenda for the negotiation, putting forth the various aspects of the acquisition to be discussed. 

10:50 - CSR is one topic receiving special emphasis from both sides. RideOn is quite interested in finding out Happy Singh's future commitments, and he mentions his desire to stay on as a consultant with RideOn, post the acquisition. The teams get down to discussing the price and $200 million is HappyTaxi's offer. However, this is too high for RideOn. They would prefer something around the $100 million mark and staggered payments. Both teams are amenable to a 3-year payment model. 

11:00 - The teams then get down to discussing the Indian government regulations, and how HappyTaxi's vehicles are already compliant; something that adds further value to the company. RideOn admits to the recent media uproar that their company was subject to, and highlights that they are very concerned about their public image in a new market. RideOn wants to get into education and training of the drivers, in order to get some love from the public. Happy Singh expresses that he is quite hurt by the $100 million valuation, because he has built his company from the ground up, and is very passionate about his work. He also talks about the CSR initiatives of his company, and how they could be extremely valuable to RideOn. 
 
11:10 - HappySingh declares that after the acquisition, he will be open to signing a non-compete agreement, but would still reserve the right to invest in other companies. The two teams now move on to discussing GoTaxi. RideOn says that, at the moment, GoTaxi is not an acquisition target for them. However, they would be interested in signing an exclusive supply agreement with GoTaxi, in order to keep drivers in the company. HappySingh is open to managing GoTaxi, but also suggests a joint venture between the two companies. The representatives of RideOn declare that they do not endorse their CEO's statements regarding the incident in Singapore. 
 
11:35 - The competition seems to be heating up as the clock ticks, and the two teams are entirely focused on fixing a price. Happy Singh seems quite intent on getting cash upfront, even if it is only for the first year. RideOn, after considering all aspects of HappyTaxi, excluding GoTaxi, makes an offer, but HappyTaxi is quite intent on getting an amount close to $100 million in the first year. RideOn suggests summarising their entire discussion, in order to reach a consensus. The teams decide on $90 million in the first year, $40 million in the second, and $30 million in the third, depending on the achievement of the milestones. Last ditch negotiation has begun as the clock runs out, and the teams finally decide on a sum of $140 million, over three years. The teams also agree on further discussions regarding GoTaxi. And we have an agreement! 
 
11:50 - The Q&A sessions shall now begin. First up, Team 1, representing RideOn. Both judges commend the team for their approach to the negotiation, and their professionalism. They question the team about their feelings regarding the deal, and the team is quite pleased with what they were able to achieve. The judges break down the other team's overall argument, and commend them for their negotiation on the financial terms of the deal. 
 
12:00 - With this, we come to the end of the negotiation. Some excellent skills showcased by the teams here, and a good show all round!
 

Room 2 - 101 - Team 2 v Team 15

10:50 - After taking a scant moment to greet each other, the CEO of Happy Taxi launched into a monologue about the origin of his company, ensuring he passes it off into the right hands. The Head of Asian Development reciprocated warmly. The teams seem to be cordial and in agreement so far. The question is-will it last?

10:45 - In order to lay a good foundation for a lasting relationship, the teams come up with an agenda of things to be discussed. Happy Taxi took the immediate opportunity to express their dissent with a statement earlier issued by the Ride On. With plenty of nodding on both sides, the teams seem to open to each other's ideas. RideOn seems to be steering the conversation to issues of compliance, a problem especially pertinent to the Indian context.
 
11:05 - Lines have been drawn and boundaries have been set! CSR has emerged as a hot issue at the moment, with Happy Taxi emphasizing on being able to continue with their CSR, saying the entire transfer will be contingent on future discussions on it. However, while RideOn has conceded that they'll continue with the core initiatives, they refuse to take the mandate of conducting all the initiatives. A surprising stand, no? 
 
11:10 - The teams are on fire, discussing core issues with alacrity. The discussion turns now to corporate clients. While RideOn would like to retain the clients, Happy Taxi has only guaranteed their top 3 clients. As a matter of contract, as the counsel for Happy Taxi repeatedly states, they can't ensure that the rest will come. The issue of corporate clients seems to have created a rut in the discussion, as both teams agree. Moving on, then!
 
11:32 - The valuation has created a number of hurdles in the discussion. An 'egg and chick' situation has emerged, where the penalty for driver migration depends on Happy Taxi's valuation and the valuation depends on RideOn's penalty! RideOn gets an inch in the valuation and now wants a foot on corporate clients! They want more than the 3 guaranteed by Happy Taxi, but finally agree that it may not be possible. Happy Taxi budging on CSR requirements, we finally seem to have some consensus! Oh, but the time runs out before a deal is closed!
 
11:42 - The judge inquires from both the teams what they gathered from the discussion, receiving answers that are well-fleshed out. The judge also raises issues such as the numbers for the valuation. He also elucidates areas where he feels the discussion got stuck and how a lot of important issues were not discussed. He takes the time to discuss how the teams could have negotiated and structured their deal. A lot of things to think about for both sides, I'm sure, as we wind down the discussion.
That's it from here, folks!

 

Room 3 - 102 - Team 3 v Team 10

10:30- We are delighted to welcome you to the fourth edition of the International Negotiation Competition jointly organised by National University, Delhi and Herbert Smith Freehills LLP! We report to you live from the inaugural ceremony where we are about to begin the proceedings. 
 
10:34- Here the round starts with a warm welcome. The participants introduce themselves to each other. The representatives are calm and composed, and want to reach a fruitful conclusion to this negotiation. Both teams appear to be frank and confident. When happy taxi offered the lucrative composite deal of Happy and Go Taxi together, Rideon doesn't appear to be impressed. They are more careful. 
10:45- Happy Taxi is relying on their reputation, CSR and monopoly in the Indian market to reach a fair deal while Ride on is relying on human element and technology. Happy Taxi offers another deal to which Ride on replies that it all depends on the prices. Surely it does! 
 
10:55 - Now begins the price negotiation! They stuck a deal of 220$ million without much bargaining. The only bargaining  that took place is regarding when and in what installments price is to be paid. So here they are- 105$ million by December 2017 and rest in 2018. Next thing they want to talk about is the future of drivers and corporate accounts.

11:15- RideOn agrees with Happy Taxi on the deal but they want Happy to sign a non-compete clause; here, Happy reminds them of the strict competition Act of India. So non-compete terms are to be dealt later. They now deliberate of the due-diligence. Agreed! The next issue being discussed is about the compliance with the environmental regulations of India. convinced and agreed! Judges congratulates them for that.

11:25 - The question round and feedback begins for Happy Taxi now. The Judges appreciated the teams. The first question that was thrown before the team is why they were not as willing as compared to RideOn - and here, the team says that they wished to incorporate the due-diligence clause. Much appreciated indeed!

11:50- We are pleased to announce that this round has ended successfully! Give yourselves pats on the backs!

 

Room 4  - 103 - Team 4 v Team 11

10:35 - Welcome everyone! This round starts with the two teams introducing themselves, with Team 4 representing Ride On and Team 11 representing Happy Taxi. Happy singh clearly tells the other party that they are here to sell the company. Ride On also makes it clear that it is interested in buying as they want to expand their presence in the Indian market.

10:45 - Happy Singh argues for a different approach for the Indian market and brings up governmental standards for environmental purposes. Ride on wants to know more about their model. While Ride On is critical about their subscription model, Happy Singh is in favour of it.

11:10 - Ride On doesn't seem to be able to accept the financials of Happy Singh after acquisition, and they seek to defer such discussion. Happy Singh wants 180 million excluding Go Taxi( subsidiary company) they counter offer with 130 million.  Happy Singh is clearly playing hardball by sticking to the money he wants. Ride On comes with 130 million plus 20 million as bonus, we think this may be the beginning of an offer war.

11:33 - Happy Singh offers a name-based resolution in order to strengthen their strategy. Ride on want to know more about their social initiative, while Happy Singh asks them to focus on environmental purposes. The negotiation ends in a good note.

11:48 - Q & A round begins. The judges are of the opinion that the teams seemed stuck at some point, and should have brought in personal guarantees at a later point. There are discussions about the need for a different agreement with a tax-beneficial method and the neutrality that Happy Singh's intimate involvement would bring to the negotiation - it seems that the judges are quite happy here! Well, everybody, that's a wrap!

 

Room 5 - 104 - Team 5 v Team 25

10:31 - And the negotiation has begun! Happy Taxi dives right into their passion for social responsibility, while RideOn emphasizes on their eagerness to expand into the Indian Market.  

10:35 - RideOn draws attention to their Socially responsible projects, making sure to let them know that they've become a more socially aware company since they last met. 
 
10:40 - Happy Taxi says that RideOn's reputation could use a boost, especially regarding what happened in Singapore. RideOn tries to put them at ease saying they have the ability to not engage with any drivers that are non-compliant. When you buy Happy Taxi, you're buying a business that works in India, says the counsel for Happy Taxi! 
 
11:30 - Things are getting heated, as disagreements over numbers abound! Team 5, representing RideOn makes it clear that smaller percentages would be difficult for them them to accept. If Happy taxi is able to guarantee corporate clients, says RideOn, they would be willing to look at another offer, but not without that. Team 25, representing Happy Taxi, points out that that's essentially the same deal for them, and not really a compromise.  
 
Both teams acknowledge that they will not be able to able to reach a deal today, but also say that time might be running out today, but there's more meetings to be had afterwards! And with that the negotiation ends. 
 
11:57 -  As the QnA begins, Happy Taxi defends their strategy of emphasizing CSR initiatives.
As the judges bombard the RideOn team with questions and tips, they hold their own on their strategy and the numbers they quoted, while conceding to the mistakes they made as well. The judges laugh about how as a counsel, they can get fired for changing the numbers without consulting the client! 
 
 
Room 6 - 105 - Team 6 v Team 34
 
10:50 - Ladies and gentlemen, here we have Team 6 facing team 34. While both of the teams look composed, the room feels the tension of the face off. The judges are settled at their places. And the negotiation kicks off!

The temperature is rising now as Happy Singh wants to start negotiations soon, but the other team appears to want to start with an opening statement. This may just be a battlefield, but one thing the parties can agree on is for everything to remain confidential. RideOn shoots a number of questions to Happy Singh, but counsel for Happy Singh holds their own and reassures them of the quality of services by Happy Taxi.
 
11:05 - Happy Singh is apprehensive about the CSR initiative, and RideOn tries to assure them, however counsel for Happy Singh is a bit apprehensive about whether the initiative qualifies as CSR are not. The counsel further explains his apprehension the quality of drivers and RideOn representative gives an explanation, but Happy Singh's apprehension is still clear on his face.
 
The issue of behavior of drivers is clearly not settled! Explanations given by the  RideOn cannot satisfy Happy Taxi representatives.Finally, the issue appears to be settled, when the counsel admits glitch on their part in Singapore. Good Strategy, eh?
 
Go Taxi is clearly very dear to Happy Singh. Will this issue hinder negotiation?
 
11.20 - Indeed - a bone of contention! Apologies, if I sound excited, it's because things are heating up. The parties' tension is hidden behind their smiles. Counsel for Happy Taxi stops the negotiation and lays out the consequences of not buying GoTaxi. Do you think this strategy will make RideOn pay millions?
 
While Happy Singh wants to move on to Corporate Accounts, the RideOn representative defers the issue and asks for an offer. Aha! The first offer is finally in the room!
 
Happy Singh Offers major corporate clients to come with RideOn in case of change of the control. 
 
11:35 - We are into the final minutes of the negotiations - can we see big offers coming in soon? The 'first you' approach continues regarding valuation, both the parties want other to give number of valuation. The parties summarizes the issues which they have agreed to before finally having offer. 
 
Aaaaannnddd we have final offer of ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY Million, but will the negotiation will be completed in 5 more minutes? RideOn agrees upon the different payment structure with offer of 160 Million, and various payment structure is explored and finally teams summarize meeting, and defers other issues to a later meeting.
 
The Judges start with Q & A sessions and asks questions regarding strategy and give a few suggestions regarding other strategies that the teams could've chosen, especially with regard to their approach to the negotiation.
 
 
Room 7 - 201 - Team 7 v Team 21
 
10:43  - The negotiation kicks off with the parties acknowledging one another. RideOn expresses its appreciation to Happy Taxi for entering into this deal while Happy Taxi moves on to laying out the agenda. They begin by talking about the conditions of the sale, how Ride On can ensure the continuance of the values and CSR commitments of Happy Taxi, as well as the time frame of the agreement. 
 
Happy Taxi questions RideOn about their commitment to CSR, in response to which RideOn presents its CSR commitments as linked to human elements and the environment. A tab of 4% is also proposed by RideOn for their CSR quota. 'CSR is not mere goodwill'. Hmm, do you agree with Mr. Singh? Here, Mr. Wiley assures to protect Happy Taxi's interests in CSR and that their Singapore branch does not represent the company as a whole. 
 
10:54 - After reaching a consensus over the issue of CSR, Happy Taxi, in a bid to maintain regulatory standards, wishes to include its subsidiary, GoTaxi into the deal. This would address the huge overlap between the two and ensure maintenance of quality of Happy Taxi's services.
 
11:00 - The parties then move onto the much awaited 'moolah' talk with HappyTaxi pricing GoTaxi at 18 million and HappyTaxi at 182 million, while RideOn presents a total figure of 120 million. Happy Taxi believes that if RideOn acquires the company along with its subsidiary, it would prove to be economically efficient for them in the longer run, due to India's booming taxi market, coupled with Happy Taxi's pre-existing status.
 
11:10 - Happy Singh agrees to sign a non-compete in order to safeguard the interests of RideOn with respect to the deal, if and only if both companies are sold today. RideOn quotes 140 million as the price of both the ancillary and the main company, while Happy Taxi quotes 190 and hopes for cash up front although they are ready to agree on a staggered payment option as well. 
 
After a string of propositions, Happy Taxi offers a 49% stake in GoTaxi for 8 million along with another 174 million for Happy Taxi with the option of a staggered model of payment. To this, RideOn wishes to offer 120 million upfront and the difference to be staggered across 6 years. 
 
11:25 - In response to RideOn's proposition, Happy Taxi wishes to buy stock in RideOn in lieu of the 6 year staggered payment option in order to safeguard RideOn's interests in India. 
 
Further, Happy taxi wishes to conclude the agreement by the end of 2017 and promises RideOn their top 3 corporate clients along with Mr. Singh as a consultant to RideOn. 
 
Finally, Happy Taxi proposes 170 million without GoTaxi staggered with 120 cash upfront, and the remaining in staggered payment across 6years long with a non compete to be signed by Mr. Singh. The proposition is agreed to, by both parties.
 
11:41 - The negotiation has come to an end and the judge's questioning is underway. Happy Taxi lays down the outcome of the negotiation and clarifies Mr. Singh's position as a consultant to RideOn in the affirmative. They also explain that the security for the staggered payment is based primarily on goodwill. Happy Taxi were also questioned as to why they offered a free consultancy. To this, Mr. Singh elaborated that the move was deliberate to allow his consultancy to be flexible. 

RideOn, explaining its objectives, states that its CSR is aligned with Happy Taxi's. Judges further question RideOn, on the market share of the 20 customers and the ownership of the cars and other infrastructure. RideOn clarifies that the 20 customers were the 20 largest customers and thus, valuation of market share was not required. RideOn is also questioned on the scope and time of the consultancy period. 
 
Well, clearly, this was an extremely gruelling Q&A. Wait, you don't think so? Well, you definitely have a knack for good negotiation then!
 

Room 8 - 202 - Team 8 v Team 16

10:30 - The team begins on a pleasant note with the counsel of Happy Taxi gave an opening speech. Further, the counsel sets the agenda of the present negotiation and expresses what they expect from this negotiation.

Both the teams look very keen about this negotiation and appear to be expecting something fruitful from this negotiation - something that is in the interest of both parties.
 
10:50 - It seems like reputation is everything for Team 16, representing Happy Taxi. Phil Wheely, represented by Team 8, expresses his interest in working with a company like Happy Taxi - he says the can cure their past mistakes and improve future growth. 
 
11:05 - Team 8 expressed their thoughts on the environmental agenda to which Team 16 showed their interest and building upon the idea proposes something which the other team finds interesting. 
 
11:20 - Team 8 expressed the importance of Happy Singh and what he can bring to make this deal more successful, to which Happy Singh expressed his gratefulness and began negotiating on the same. The participants of both the teams have great coordination as they perfectly complement each other.
 
 
11:30 - Now, there seems to be slight disagreement between the parties regarding the amount. Both the parties expressed the reason before arriving at a particular price but none of them gave a concrete reason to which other party agreed. 
 
As the time is about to end, the counsel of Happy Taxi recommended to summarize everything they have agreed upon and to discuss a short agenda. Anddddd the negotiation comes to an end! Both the teams adopted a collaborative strategy and carried a smile on their faces throughout the negotiation.
 
11:40 - Now, Q&A session begins and the contested seems to be ready to face the questions of the judges. 
Initially, the judge found a gap in the agenda so set by the parties, and both the teams tried to justify this gap. After a few more questions, it seems that this round has come to a close! I think we can all learn some lessons on cooperation, from this round, don't you?
 
 
Room 9 - 203 - Team 9 v Team 28
 
10:31 - The negotiation begins with a cordial (quite warm, in fact) exchange  between the two teams. RideOn and Happy Taxi drive straight into business with the money talks very early in the negotiation itself. RideOn put forth their desire to be recognized as an environmentally friendly business in Asia through Happy Taxi. 
They highlight their core reason behind the acquisition - the stronghold that Happy Taxi has in India.
 
10:39 - The negotiation seems to getting serious now with both the teams discussing the migration of the drivers. Happy Taxi puts forth their request for a smooth transition of the drivers and customers into RideOn in a  crystal clear manner. RideOn agree to their proposition and demand the numbers be made clear to them about the drivers and customers.
 
10:44 - The situation seems more serious with every passing minute now. Here comes Happy Taxi's masterstroke! They have finally let the cat out of the bag by proposing the acquisition price at a staggering 250-280 million. Happy Taxi is willing to seal the deal only if they are assured an advance payment of 100 million. Oh! Clearly, the money game isn't over yet.
 
10:51 -  RideOn attacks Happy Taxi now with the issue of GoTaxi. Happy Taxi braves this attack by raising the issue of corporate clients now. RideOn now reverts back to the issue of GoTaxi. Oh! Here comes the smart price negotiation move by Ride On . They  state in clear terms that they are not interested in GoTaxi. The response from Happy Taxi is something that we need to look out for. 
 
11:00 - RideOn seems to be going hard on Happy Taxi with the price negotiation by denying the offer for GoTaxi. Happy Taxi also  sticks to their price quotation and doesn't waver from it. The price offering seems to be lower than expected to Happy Taxi as they demand the advance payment to be more than the initial offer . The negotiation now goes back to the problem of corporate customers. This issue seems to be the most integral part of the negotiation as RideOn agrees to pay 160 million in exchange of the corporate clients. This might turn out to be the turning point of this negotiation. 
 
11:09 - Both teams continue to wave their swords at each others' throats. Neither of them is going easy on the price and customer negotiations. Both teams now move to the more fundamental issue of CSR. Happy Taxi highlights their environment commitment and urges RideOn to continue with them which they forthright agree with.This seems to bring the negotiation on the same table for both parties and the negotiation game is getting more interesting now.
 
11:22 - RideOn chalks out the points of the  deal in black and white  and breaks up the issues of contention into an amenable pattern. The negotiation which started like a shattered lot of jigsaw puzzle pieces now seems to materialize into an amenable piece of puzzle nearing completion. 
 
11:28 - The question and answer now begins. RideOn is faced with the question of the enforceability of the term sheet agreed by both the parties. The  parties answer that it will be binding even though only some parts will be enforceable. Well, that's nice to hear! With this, we bid you goodbye - see you soon!
 

Room 10 - 204 - Team 12 v Team 33

10:32 - And the competition begins!! Both the teams have welcomed each other and seem appear very calm and composed. Happy Singh's hard working-life story sets the stage for the negotiation. It's inspiring!! They feel that RideOn is a perfect match for them. RideOn gives their introduction. Their vision is exceptional.

10:41 - RideOn sets the points of discussions. There focus is on the Scope, Corporate Account, CSR and finally Mr. Singh's future with them. HappyTaxi asks them to add a point for 'Migration of Drivers' and last but not the least, the purchase price! They start up with the CSR issue, as per Happy Taxi's recommendations. Happy Singh wants RideOn to continue the CSR  environment contributions as a way of giving back to the society. From the perspective of RideOn, the focus should be on the people who run the company. They want them to be involved and their suggestion is to club CSR with the human element of the company.
 
10:52 - Happy Singh thinks that the focus also extends to the brand, other than CSR. The reputation that they have is very important to them and so is their screening process. RideOn's counsel changes the focus to the agenda of Mr. Singh's Future. RideOn is hoping to see Happy Singh to continue his involvement in the company in one way or other.
 
Here, Happy Singh shifts the focus to their business model. He believes that he can vouch for his drivers and makes it clear that migration of the drivers is an important agenda for him. They want the transition of the drivers to be smooth. RideOn is willing to offer Happy Singh a seat on the Board, with a permanent role in the company. However, Happy Singh wants a that will ease RideOn's transition in India.
 
11:20 - Paucity of Time is a major concern here! RideOn asks Happy Taxi if they have any issues with the corporate accounts. Happy Singh assures that he will provide the big corporate customer they have to RideOn. When asked about it, HappyTaxi clarifies that their big customer owns a 'substantial' share in the company. RideOn wants HappyTaxi to guarantee the migration of the 20 biggest corporate clients they have, to insure that they have a profitable business. HappyTaxi's counsel points out a problem with that. 
 
11:30 - The big numbers are here!! RideOn has valued the company for 160 million dollars with the successful migration of 65% of the drivers in 6 months. They also have devised a payment scheme. According to them, the value of the business relies upon the migration of drivers. HappyTaxi's reminds them that it also depends upon the company policy. The counter figure by Happy Taxi is 210 million dollars. There is a big gap in both the figures!! The counter to the counter offer is an upfront payment after the 6 month and another valuation after 12 month. HappyTaxi wants a settled amount. Oh yesss, the negotiation ends! Wait a minute, I didn't mean to sound so happy about that.. Good job everyone!
 
11:49 - The Q&A rounds begins. The judges ask HappyTaxi if they had analysed other customers other than the big customers. The judges point out the problems with the style and the legal aspects of the negotiations. The Judges think that HappyTaxi covered the CSR aspect well. The judges wanted them to start with the scope agenda. Now turning to RIdeOn's team, the judges really liked their presentation and style. Judges point out that they should also have laid out the scope of the deal first. They also think that they divided the issues between the client and the counsel well. The judges reminds them of the importance of summarizing. Ahh, well, it's always good to reflect and condense things! See you around!
 
 
Room 11 - 301B - Team 14 v Team 18
 
10:45 - After RideOn began the negotiation with a brief introduction, followed by Happy Taxi explaining the background of their company and stressing on the importance of their positive reputation right from the get go, laying the foundation for their priorities this negotiation.
 
10:52 - RideOn responds positively, and asks Happy Taxi what attracted them to RideOn. Happy Taxi highlights RideOns global dominance in the taxi market as the primary reason, but do express their reservations regarding the recent statement by Phil Wheely regarding their accountability to the people which received public flak.
 
11:00 - Both teams continue to maintain their calm disposition, and have started discussing the government restrictions regarding pollution and carbon emission from taxis. RideOn asks whether Happy Taxis cabs already comply with the carbon rules, and while Happy Taxi cannot confirm that, they assuage RideOn by reiterating the stringent regulation measures they have in place which would help tackle this restriction easily.
 
11:08 - Happy Taxi believe that after the deal, their involvement and guidance would benefit RideOn penetrate the Indian market effectively. RideOn then proposes an idea which would involve all their cabs being 'happy singh' approved with relation to environmental and social standards, which is again received positively. Happy Taxi also proposes the use of hybrid cars and pooling options.
 
11:27 - The two parties, after discussing details regarding migration of drivers and dabbling around the finances, they go back to the corporate clientele. RideOn holds their ground on this point, and again ask that they want all corporate clients and not just the three which seem to be a part of the deal so far. Happy Taxi agrees to talk to them, but RideOn express reservations regarding such a non-binding deal with respect to the corporate clientele. Happy Taxi points out the non-binding clause which they have with their corporate clients, and they can only rely on their word, which shouldnt be a problem. RideOn points out the lack of security in such a deal.
Happy Taxi suggests that they move away from this seeming deadlock and come back with a new perspective.
 
11:38
With very little time left, RideOn goes back to their issue with the corporate clientele, without the resolution of which they cannot move forward. Happy Taxi propose a future meeting to discuss that issue. 
After skimming over all points discussed in the meeting so far, the two parties agree to meet again and thank each other for their cooperation. 
This was quite a cordial and efficient discussion on both sides! Starting the Q&A Round soon, stay tuned!
 
11:55 - The judges also wondered what the strategy behind divulging their confidential information regarding future investments was, if their was any point in this round where their strategy failed them and what their contingent plan was.
After a grilling Q&A for Happy Taxi, the room doesn't feel too happy anymore. ReadOn to see how the other team fares!
 
12:04 - t's safe to say that the judges didn't spare anyone, and no clear winner seems to have emerged. Too bad we'll never know what happens in the Feedback session! Thats it for this round, stay tuned for the rest of the competition!
 
 

Room 12 - 406 - Team 32 v Team 1

10:33 - Team 32 is representing RideOn while Team 17 is representing Happy Taxi.

Both teams open with pleasantries and RideOn even has a gift for Happy Taxi! whether it is a poisoned kiss or not will have to be Cerseen. Oh wow, we already have a disagreement - Happy Taxi wants to talk numbers while RideOn wants to address CSR. 

The teams are now sinking their teeth into corporate clientele. Happy SIngh makes a bold statement that he can assure Happy Taxi's top 3 clientele will remain even after a change in management. 
Negotiations are on, and still calm, but is it the calm before the storm?

10:46 - RideOn seems worried there is little information on the corporate clientele accounts. Happy Taxi assures them they have the books, they just don't have it now.. First Offer made! Happy Taxi 250 million dollars, GoTaxi included. Added benefits for the win! They strive to show how Happy Taxi is better along with GoTaxi as with the red tape in India and also the stringent regulations, it would be a win for everybody for both to be sold together. GoTaxi worth 20 million out of the figure, They reached these estimations using past deals, this is why you always pay attention to history kids( could get you millions)!

11:06 - Happy Taxi is now showing why environmental conservation is the best to focus on. Government will get off RideOn's back if they take care of environmental regulations.RideOn argues that the figure should be conditional on how many clients make the shift. Concern on Happy Singh's face as he explains how he is very uncomfortable with making an assurance like that before hand. 

11:26 - New Offer: Happy Taxi offers 230 million dollars out of which 150 million dollars are guaranteed while 80 million is contingent on corporate accounts etc. 100 million dollars in cash upfront though it can be paid across a timeframe. RideOn can agree to this but RideOn really wants those corporate accounts, Rest of the payment would have to be staggered. Lowest bar of Happy Singh is 180 million dollars. There we go, lowest offer, take it or leave it RideOn! 
We are getting closer and closer to a final amount, less than five minutes left and now we don't have a final figure. What is going to happen?

Unfortunately, looks like this fight will be finished another day.. Meanwhile, moving on to Q&A, the grilling starts as the judges want to know why there weren't many legal answers. It appears that the judges are impressed with the structure for the GoTaxi contract suggested by RideOn, but feel that there should have been more headway made through the point. and with the end of this Q&A session the negotiation has come to a close! Au revoir, people!

 

Room 13 - 408 - Team 19 v Team 31

10:37 - And we have finally begun! Team 19 represents Happy Taxi while Team 31 represents Ride On. The very detailed agenda for the meeting has been laid down. Happy Taxi is informing the other side about why are they willing to sell the business and why have they chosen Ride On. Ride On explains the dynamic between their taxi drivers and customers. With regard to Ride On's recent bad press, Happy Taxi, in a manner that indicates its willingness to engage, says that it is normal for companies to encounter such problems.
 
10:48 - Valuations of Happy Taxi and Go Taxi are on the table.The approach to valuation is being discussed. Money doesn't seem to be a problem with the teams here! Both the teams have moved on to discussing their respective CSR Projects.
 
10:57 - The CSR activities is a really important topic for both the sides. Ride On has said that they wouldn't be able to continue with all CSR activities of Happy Taxi, and would only be able to go with activities related to the environment. Training of women drivers and educating the drivers has been agreed between them, if the transition goes smoothly. Various propositions for Go Taxi are now being discussed.
 
11: 08 - The owner of Happy Taxi has discussed, for a short time, about his future plans of investing in the stocks of certain companies. Ride On is concerned about the transition of drivers from Happy Taxi to the merged entity. But, Happy Taxi says that because drivers are content with their working conditions, their shouldn't be any problem with the transition. Ride On has also invited the owner of Happy Taxi to be on the consultation board.
 
11:21 - Both the sides can see the transition happening smoothly. Transfer of corporate clients from Happy Taxi to the new merged entity is now under scrutiny. Happy Taxi is now quoting the amount of money that it wants upfront. The sides have settled upon the amount that they'll pay in the first year and the amount of instalments for the coming years. Other miscellaneous concerns of both the sides are being addressed. It seems like the negotiation is coming to an end, well before the time!
 
11:32 - With the judges focusing on amounts to be paid upfront, the Q&A comes to an end. See ya folks! 
 
 

Room 14 - 506 - Team 20 v Team 30

10:35 - The teams have greeted each other and are off to a positive start! It's exciting isn't it? You and me here, witnessing their performance! Team 20 is here representing Ride On, while Team 30 representing Happy taxi.

10:40 - They have opened up with issues of their companies and are looking forward to fruitful negotiation. A long discussion about 'CSR' between the teams revolves around their duty towards the society. Both the companies seem to be very calm and composed, and they are really willing to enter into a settlement.
 
10:59 - Bingo!! We have our first agreement on 'CSR' and the teams quickly without wasting any time move on to the next issue. We already have an agreement, seems both the companies are negotiating in a very smooth manner! Does Happy Singh actually sing when happy? Well, I guess we will find out soon, if things work out for them.
 
11:20 - So the judges have taken the lead now and are asking questions from the teams or rather satiating their questions on the agreement and it looks that Ride One seems to have made an impression in front of the judges while Happy taxi doesn't seem to back out easily. Well, sayonara everyone, I hope you come back for more, we have many rounds lined up!

 

Room 15 - 515 - Team 22 v Team 27

10:30 - The team begins on a pleasant note with the counsel of Happy Taxi giving an opening speech. Further, the counsel set the agenda of present negotiation and expressed what they expect from this negotiation.

Both the teams are keen on this negotiation and expect something fruitful from this negotiation which is in the interest of both of them.
 
10:46 - Happy Taxi's primary concern is their reputation - something that is of importance to the issue at hand. On being asked directly about the value that they want, Happy Taxi's response indicates that they're not interested in discussing the valuation. However, they do show some interest in knowing why Ride On's business is not as good as in other countries, referring to media reports.
 
While 15 minutes have passed, both teams don't seem to be in a hurry to discuss their main agendas.  
 
10:59 -  Wait, what just happened?? Ohhhh!! Finally, Happy Taxi has just disclosed their value, a figure at a precious amount of 250 million. But, Ride On questions the huge amount. Here, the teams also touch upon the procedure for acquisition of drivers.
 
11:22 - A clever step by Ride On was to make Happy Taxi agree to the terms and conditions of Ride On! Just 10 minutes left for the round to get over and the room is getting HOTTER!!! The teams are interested in discussing each and every agenda and want to reduce harms to the other party - indeed a good and fair market spirit here! The spirit of Christmas, eh? Maybe not, I doubt they'd give anything away for free. 
 
11:40 - In the judges' Q&A, we can see that reputation is the foremost priority for both parties here. Indeed, both think that protecting the same was the best outcome of the negotiation. With this, this round comes to an end! We bid you goodbye, and hope you join us again soon!
 
 

Room 16 - 517- Team 23 v Team 29

10:35 - Hello and welcome to the 4th edition of the HSF - NLU Delhi International Negotiation Competition! Here in Room 16 we have Team 23 representing Happy Taxi and Team 29 representing RideOn.

10:42 -  The teams begin by exchanging greetings and on a lively note but quickly get down to business. The client on behalf of RideOn explains to the other party how they have been very successful and how they are in a very good state in the beginning of the negotiations. It also seems that RideOn has done their research on Happy Taxi and into it's owner, Happy Singh.

10:52 - RideOn seems reluctant to purchase GoTaxi. The client from Happy Taxi agrees to their reluctance but on the condition that drivers from Happy Taxi keep getting their taxis serviced from GoTaxi.

11:06 - The parties get down to discussing the CSR concerns and projects of Happy Taxi and Happy Singh. RideOn states that they are interested in education projects and they want that the environmental CSR projects taken up by Happy Singh continue to be associated with RideOn after the sale if the sale does happen. The negotiation so far has been going on in a calm and friendly manner with a few friendly gestures from both the parties.  

11:25 - The atmosphere in the room is becoming serious as the discussions on sales figure continues. RideOn has proposed a sale figure of $140 million but Happy Taxi does not agree to it. It counter proposes an amount of $220 million seeing that RideOn does not want to purchase GoTaxi. The discussion on numbers continues and the client from Happy Taxi has offered $200 million for 80% stake in Happy Taxi. 

11:39 - The Q&A session with Happy Taxi begins! The judges ask them questions regarding their reason for not pushing harder for a higher price. Happy Taxi explains that they are happy with the price that they are getting right now especially seeing the fact that they are retaining GoTaxi.

11:50 - The Q&A session for RideOn has begun. The judge asks the party about how they felt the negotiations went to which the party replies that the management has to be notified about the new developments that arose during the course of the negotiations. The Q&A session for both the teams has ended. 

 

Room 17  - 518 - Team 24 v Team 26

10:45 - Team 24, representing RideOn, and team 26, representing HappyTaxi, humbly greet each other. 

RideOn starts with subtly expressing their intent to buy HappyTaxi and HappyTaxi very curiously raises questions about corporate customers, maintenance of transparency within the internal mechanism, and increasing accessibility in the Indian market (probably to hint at their hesitance to be bought by the RideOn). 
 
10:59 - In a sudden turn of events, the conversation becomes about the CSR project by the HappyTaxi. In it's attempt to convince HappyTaxi to be bought by RideOn, RideOn seems amenable to their proposition (slightly contrary to their previous expression of worry of not making sufficient profits). 
 
11:12 - HappyTaxi very confidently proposes an amount of 250 million dollars for the acquisition, and it seems RideOn is quite edgy (a reasonable reaction to losing so much money). HappyTaxi reasons on the amount by stating that HappyTaxi will come along with the GoTaxi on which RideOn seems not very convinced.
 
Expressing their concern about the transition, RideON strategically, first establishes a common ground of achieving a mutually beneficial agreement and then proposes that the 3 customer accounts should be transited to their account in the first upfront feet. HappyTaxi asks for a clarification of the process in the breakdown of the prices. Seems like this negotiation is going in more directions than one. 
 
11:36 - Coming to an end, the negotiation after a lot of turbulence seems to have a friendly atmosphere and both the parties, RideOn and HappyTaxi agree to securing as many corporate accounts, but a minimum of 10 corporate customers and the final price of 200 million dollars for the entire acquisition and 150 million dollars for the first upfront feet. Both the parties seem happy with the agreement (a rare occasion in the negotiation). 
 
11:55 - At the end, after listing out their recommendations, the judges state that a little bit of aggression makes the negotiation interesting and substantial and with that the question answers session comes to an end. 

 

PRELIMINARY ROUND 2: THE LION'S SHARE

 

Room 1 – Moot Court Hall – Team 1 v Team 18

12:55 - Good afternoon, everyone! An exciting round of negotiation lies ahead, between Team 1, representing Icon Entertainment, and Team 18, representing Blue Lion. The teams and judges have arrived, and we are all set to begin!

13:08 - Warm greetings and introductions on both sides characterise the beginning of the round, and we are on our way! The teams set an agenda for the negotiation, and put forward their respective interests. Both sides are very mindful of what the other brings to the table, and, straight off the bat, the teams delve into the financial aspect of their possible joint venture. From the very outset, Icon Entertainment has declared that they are very interested in Blue Lion getting fair value out of this deal. They wish to engage in an equal partnership with Blue Lion, but the latter only wants a 30% stake in the joint venture. 

13:23 - The teams move on to discussing the various rights and powers that the two sides will possess, post the agreement on the joint venture. Blue Lion lays strong emphasis on their brand image, citing the tremendous success of their drink in Australia. The number of branded events, to be held every year, is next discussed by the teams. Revenue is a big concern for Icon Entertainment, and they address the issue with respect to the number of events, since they would like 20 branded events to take place every year. This seems to be a bone of contention between the teams, since extensive discussions regarding it take place. 

13:38 - The teams proceed to discuss the vacant plot of land adjacent to the Shell - the venue, which is the core of the deal. Blue Lion believes that this land requires focused investment as well, since they intend to begin a BMX racing culture there. The terms of the lease are brought up next. Icon Entertainment suggests a reduction in the duration of the lease from 30 years. After considering this, $60 million is the figure that Blue Lion puts forward. However, they assure Icon Entertainment that there is more to come in the future. Icon  Entertainment does not seem to be completely agreeable to this, and they inquire about the reasoning behind the constraints. 

13:55 Blue Lion brings up their desire to sell their own products at the Shell, in order to make sure that there is a reliable supplier to the Shell. IconEntertainment is open to an exclusive supplier agreement with Blue Lion. Blue Lion wants to rename the Shell to the Blue Lion Arena. However, Icon Entertainment clarifies that naming rights are possible only along with a 50:50 partnership. The teams are, however, unable to reach consensus on the terms of the agreement. Sorry folks, no shaking of hands here! 

14:15 - The Q&A session will now begin. First up, Team 1. The judges question whether they achieved what they wanted to, and the team has to admit that it was not an ideal negotiation. The judges pose some tough questions, but the team is commended on the techniques employed to bring the negotiation to a close. 

Next up, Team 18. The opening question remains the same, and the team admits to certain aspects of the negotiation not being very productive. The judges question the tactics of the team, and certain points that were brought up. The team is put into a tough spot, but they effectively satisfy the judges' queries. 

That wraps it up for this session! Do tune in to the quarter-finals! 

 

Room 2 – 101 - Team 2 v Team 9

12:55 - After some cordial greetings, Team 9, representing Icon Entertainment, launched the discussion by asking Team 2, representing Blue Lion, whether they had the authority to negotiate. Both teams resolving to negotiate in good faith, BL took the initiative to outline what points they would like to address. Well, this sure seems to be shaping up well!

13:05 - There sure seems to be some hardball negotiating going on in this room! BL has clearly outlined the fact that they feel a 20% stake would be enough. IE immediately leapt up, asking if that would be their final offer! Communication between teams seems to be an issue here as well, with both needing to clarify their stand on issues quite frequently! BL seems to be extremely cautious before talking about any issue. As more pertinent issues come up, who knows what will happen?

13:15 - The friction in this room is almost palpable! Both teams are clashing on issues of valuation, equity stakes and the number of events the iconic 'Shell' can host. While they concede on the value of reaching a consensus, there seems to be little movement towards the same! IE has imposed a contingency that if BL wishes to hold more than 20 events, they will have to acquire at least a 25% stake in the JV. As the time ticks down, the teams need to reach a consensus if they wish to close a deal!

13:23 - After tabling the discussion on the number of events that can be held in the interest of time, the negotiations turn to the development of the side plot. The discussion, however, seems to have completely stagnated. The teams seem to be going around in a loop, discussing the same issues repeatedly with no decision on the horizon.

13:30 - The discussion has now turned to exclusivity. IE feels that BL's sales aren't enough to warrant exclusivity and that they should have the right to sell drinks from other manufacturers as well. BL repeatedly keeps emphasizing their brand reputation, and how IE would benefit from an association with them. IE doesn't seem to want to budge an inch at all! Their counter-offers are full of contingencies and create more issues than they resolve!

13:40 - We may have our first consensus as IE finally softens their stance a little. They allow BL to have naming rights if they have a certain minimum stake. They are also allowed to sell their drinks at the 'Shell' for a period of 1 year, with certain considerations. With both teams attempting a cost-benefit analysis of their negotiation so far, it will be interesting to see how the discussion proceeds!

13:45 - The issue of veto rights regarding events seems to be the elephant in the room. Discussion doesn't seem to be proceeding at all! After yet another pivot, it seems that IE is not clear at all why BL wishes to enter this venture! BL dismissed their attempt to characterize their company as a drinks company. While the teams seem to be eager to close a deal, there is little effort to do so on both of their parts.

BL has firmly stated repeatedly that they won't be able to enter as 50-50 partners. The BL team seems to have some communication issues as well, with the counsel disregarding the CEO's appeal to talk on percentages rather than valuations. The counsel for BL seems a little befuddled as well, referring to 'million' as 'thousand'! After a tiring negotiation, an understandable error, really! 

14:10 - After a slow-moving negotiation, the time runs out before the teams can come to a consensus. The end of the negotiation ushers in the question-answer session with the judges. The judges too, seem to be confused over the issues discussed and seek a clarification. The judges ask IE for their strategy for the negotiation and are met with answers that seem insufficient.

With the close of the Q&A, we conclude this session!

 

Room 3 - 102 – Team 3 v Team 23

 13:00 - We are pleased to welcome you to the 2nd round of fourth edition of the International Negotiation Competition jointly organised by National University, Delhi and Herbert Smith Freehills LLP! We report to you live from the inaugural ceremony where we are about to begin the proceedings. Team '3' is representing ICON GROUP while LION is being represented by Team '23'.

13:01- The teams are introducing themselves with much respect. Lion is jumping straight into the issues. Icon welcomes that and proposes 50-50 investment share for the joint venture. Lion proposes to invest 45$ million but agreeing to be flexible. why not! 

13:11 - Teams are now negotiating on the naming rights of 'Shell'. BlueLineArena is what they want to name it. Icon proposes that to do that Lion will have to invest more than 36%. Intense bargaining taking place on this issue. No agreement on this issue as Lion is not ready to budge from its position. Truly lions! Now they move on to other aspects. 

13:25 - Now they are talking about affirmative and negative rights. Lion wants to develop a very cool image therefore it wants to control the events organized in the shell. lets see if icon disagrees to be Hot! Lion wants to organize young and energetic events in the shell. Not sure why Icon will want to organize old and lethargic events there? So here they are- both agreed to be cooler and energetic.

 14:00 - Icon stays for the QnA  and feedback session. They appear to be nervous. they encounter difficulty in explaining the judge about the future funding of the joint venture. They keenly takes the advice of judges on negotiation strategies. Judges advice them to be careful while agreeing on exclusive terms and that the termination of an agreement should be the worst case scenario. 

14:10 - Now is the time for the QnA and feedback for BlueLion. When asked why they cancelled the lease terms, they replied that they want to agree on that later. they also keenly take the valuable advice of judges. Judges also advice not to press much on exclusive clauses as that should not be the spirit of a negotiation. Exclusivity also begets a lot of legal issues and costs. Indeed your lordships!

  

Room 4 - 103 – Team 4 v Team 12 

12:54 - The two teams introduce in a cordial manner. Team 4 represents Icon and team 12 represent Blue Lion. They are off to a good start. Blue lion tells their focus on youth and tell their success as a national beverage of Australia. They come up with the naming rights and have some suggestion for the arena (Shell). Icon says that it could be talked upon only on the basis of nature of partnership and that they want 50:50 partnership but the other wants only 40 percentage. Blue lion emphasis is on the event it will bring in the event it will bring.

13:10 - Blue lion offers 60 million for 40% stake with naming rights. They think that naming arena as 'Blue Lion Arena' will attract more people specially youth. Icon wants a joined name 'Blue Lion Shell' like Brangelina (I hope it works). Blue Lion proposes that revenue per ticket to be 60:40. Icon wants future capital investment after initial funds is exhausted. Blue lion want to give money after some year and review how it is working with them. Icon says that their will get diluted if they don't give reinvest after some years.  

 13:25 - Icon insist to them to be equal partner but Blue lion is sticking to previous offer equally. Blue lion is ready to lower stake for same amount but still want control looks like power is what they are hungry for. They agree with shortening of review window and would invest on basis of how the arena is doing as a venture and keep some funds for emergency purposes, which will be talked about later. They are having a strategic team timeout here.  

13:35 - They are now discussing type of event to be held. Icon is open to any event, which would bring a ton of money ranging from music concert to monster truck. Blue lion want veto that no other beverage brand could not organize in the arena and feel strongly about that. Icon is not able to agree it. Blue Lion want control only on use of arena and not in others. They will be hosting at least 40 Blue lion event and ensure that arena is not empty. Icon wants some guarantee of a veto in some events.

14:08 - The Q& A session start with Team 4. The Judge feels that conclusion was not what was intended. Teams answer that there was confusion in negotiation and were not able t help it. The judge further asks about consequences regarding dilution, to which the team answer clearly and judges look satisfied. They ask about discussion on internal and external event to which they tell what number they came with for event and how they differentiated between internal and external to control the veto over events. Judges seem pretty satisfied and happy with the session.

 

Room 5 – 104 - Team 5 v Team 28

12:56 - The negotiation has begun! The teams begin with introductions, and start off by bringing out all the important things to be discussed in the negotiation today. The Shell seems to be an area of disagreement! Team 28, representing Icon Entertainment, wants to ensure that it is maintained in a certain way, to which Team 5, representing Blue Lion, is not willing to commit entirely. 

13:06 - Early on in the negotiation, Team Icon Entertainment has clarified that there are certain events that are non-negotiable, and will have to be hosted by the Shell in the event of a deal being reached. The teams seem skilled not just at negotiation, but also at puns! Sample this: It is important for Blue Lion to change the brand image of the Shell, for which the iconic arena might have to be renamed to the Blue Lion Arena. 

13:18 - There seems to be a lot of confusion with regard to the numbers! The teams are not clear on the figures given. So for now, assumptions have to be made in order to move ahead! 

13:29 - After a rocky couple of minutes trying to smooth out the wrinkles of confusion-- the teams are back to negotiating the terms of the deal! Blue Lion wants exclusive rights to supply soft drinks, and Icon Entertainment seems reluctant on conceding that without a trial first. 

13:37 - When Icon Entertainment says 3 months for a trial, Blue Lion says 3 years! Tough one to negotiate, but the teams agree on a year being a fair compromise. Icon Entertainment clarifies that they do not have deep enough pockets to throw money at Blue Lion's events. Blue Lion sees the events as a way to build brand value through their expertise, which would benefit Icon as well.

13:44 - The Blue Lion Shell has a nice ring to it! Compromises are being discussed on the name of the venue. In the final minutes of the negotiation, the parties are in agreement over most of the issues they outlined in the beginning. By the end of the session, the teams have agreed on a soft term sheet-- quite the achievement! 

 

Room 6 - 105 – Team 6 v Team 32

12.53 - The second round is between Team 6 (representing Blue Lion) and Team 32 (representing Icon Entertainment), and has begun with courteous handshakes followed by Blue Lion laying the land with their agenda and Icon reciprocating the goal to build a successful joint venture.

12.59 - Icon proposes a 50/50 partnership and creating a joint venture, which would be independent of the two companies, and valuate their 30-year lease at a 120 Million USD. Blue Lion seems amiable to that price, but would like naming rights to the Shell. This hits a soft spot for Icon considering the historical value the Shell holds.

Instead, they suggest that the adjacent plot can be named by Blue Lion. However, considering the capital injection Blue Lion is providing and the devaluation of the brand image of the Shell, Blue Lion equates the naming rights with their brand name, which they establish as their priority.

13.20 : A suggestion from the Blue Lion counsel which sits well with Icon is the name of The Shell- powered by Blue Lion, and this seems to be the first official agreement! The two then move to the financial aspect, with the Blue Lion putting down conditions regarding veto powers naming rights and branding.

Blue Lion want to hold a 30% stake, which they argue would give more profits and legal ownership to Icon, but want to host several exclusive Blue Lion events, and suggest ideas like Blue Lion Entertainment Festival.

13.33 - Blue Lion suggests a review board to decide the events, which would consist of members from both companies and an independent assessor, followed by an agreement from Icon. Despite the conflicting interests of the parties, they seem to be making headway!

They agree to the 30-year lease period as well as an injection of 60 Million USD upfront, and solve their headlock with an agreement on the 5 year period for the remaining 65 Million proposed by Icon. The last point of contention is the exclusive supplier contract, but as time is running out, we'll have to wait till the next meeting to see how they sort this out.

All in all, this seemed to have been a highly productive meeting!

 

Room 7 - 201 - Team 7 v Team 34

13:16 - And Round 2 is underway! We start with Martina, COO of Icon Entertainment expressing her heartfelt appreciation for this negotiation while Olivia, the executive representative from Blue Lion elucidates the key motivation for entering into this deal as the expansion of Blue Lion. The agenda is set as branding issues, amount of control in joint venture, stake to be acquired by Blue Lion, Blue Lion's usage of the fund and clarifications regarding 'Blue Lion TV'. 

13:26 - At the outset, Blue Lion denies its interest in getting into a 50% joint venture with respect to Icon Entertainment's heritage property, The Shell. Talks are initiated of giving a 30% 30 year lease valued at 75 million, to which Blue Lion expresses its apprehension insisting out more than 30 million. 

Moving on, in maintenance of the sentimental value of The Shell, both parties reach a point consensus in calling the property 'The Blue Lion's Shell'. It is also agreed that Blue Lion shall have the naming rights for the next 5 years with scope for re-negotiation in the event of further capital injections.With respect to advertising, Blue Lion expresses that it wishes to put up advertising signages at prominent places in and around The Shell, although, they agree with Icon Entertainment that the facade of the property should not be tampered with. 

13:43 - Blue Lion asks for exclusive rights and complete executive control over hosting 30 events at The Shell, with Icon Entertainment having the majority say in the management of such events. This proves to be a win-win for both since 70% of the profits go to Icon while Blue Lion gets to expand its brand. On seeing hesitation from Icon, Blue Lion asks for absolute rights for 30 events for 3 years with a re-negotiation after 3 years with respect to increased capital investment or to give Blue Lion 45 exclusive events with discretion in all other events. 

With regard to the soft drinks, Blue Lion wishes to enter into an exclusive service provider agreement, which is met with vehement disapproval and hesitation from Icon Entertainment. With no consensus reached upon, the parties bounce back ti the issue of valuation. Blue Lion asks that for the next 3 years, Icon does not take any other partner on board and if Icon agrees to this, they can raise their valuation from 30 to 45 million dollars for 30% holding, with 5 million dollars’ worth capital injection every year. 

14:10 - On being questioned over the rights of the joint venture that Icon shall transfer to Blue Lion, the latter expresses its aim to take 30% of the profits. On their stand of appointing an independent arbitrator, the judge grills them on the position of an arbitrator to 'resolve disputes' when both parties hold the right to veto. Icon Entertainment, too, had to justify as to what it believed to be the rights tied to the joint venture.

The judge struck down the position that Icon was assuming, by virtue of ownership of The Shell while the other judge questions their blind belief over Blue Lion's assertion that their 30 events shall be great. To this, Icon states that it has done its research and also demanded a plan from Blue Lion with respect to the same.

13.56 - Team 32, i.e. Icon Ltd. gets asked the questions first, which begins with the judges complimenting their team and soft skills! They then ask them questions regarding their decision about the subsidiary company, the review board and the inflation possibility, which seem to be adequately answered. 

On to the next team, the judges begin by pointing out how the aggression got in the way of the coordination of the counsel and client. However, they did compliment the team on their ability to achieve their goals, which Blue Lion does agree to, but they concede their slip up on the point of 5 year period for 65Mill where they initially began with 27 years. 


Both teams seemed to have agreed upon a lot and achieved their goals, here's to the end of a simulating round!

 

Room 8 - 202 – Team 8 v Team 21

12:52 - The negotiations have begun on a positive and enthusiastic note: Team 8 is representing Icon, while Team 21 is representing Blue Lion. Blue Lion has set the agenda by outlining their expectations. Icon has reciprocated in kind. Teams have gotten to business right away. Icon seems quite determined to hold all the cards. 

12:29 - Blue Lion seems to be worried about the $150 million, as that seems too high an amount. Icon is trying to reassure them but seems to be open to a counter offer. The teams have put aside the money issue, and move on to the ancillary issues. This is getting hotter! Icon appears to be anxious about certain issues but they seem to be willing to accommodate, whereas Blue Lion seems to be unwilling to budge on the exclusivity of their soft drink. Both the teams are determined to negotiate using only sound logical arguments. The thrill can virtually be tasted! 

13:50 - The teams are negotiating really hard for every penny now. Since Blue Lion has agreed to a 15% stake in the venture, Icon is unwilling to give them Veto powers. However, they have agreed to a preferential treatment. But Blue Lion is unhappy with this arrangement. Overall the heat seems to be reducing slowly due to the formidable skill of both the teams. But there still are some issues that are unresolved, despite trying really hard. Blue Lion appears to have an answer to everything, while Icon has all the right questions. 

13:55 - The teams have reached a settlement. Icon has agreed to give Veto powers to Blue Lion on after taking certain assurances, which they have readily given. This results from a  really hard negotiation at the last moment. The teams seem to really happy from the smiles on their faces. Now the teams have started going over what they've discussed. Aaaand ! It's over. The teams were really skilled. Look out world ! Some REALLY smart people are going to step into the real world soon.    

14:00 - The judges are questioning Team 8 now. Tough questions are being fired. The judges are questioning the team on technical aspects of the negotiation. The team seems confident. The questions about the business model seem really daunting ! The lease seems to be a problematic issue. The team seemed to have finally satisfied the judges.  

14:05 - Team 21 seems really calm and relaxed for the Q&A. The judges have directly started with the tough questions which the answers to which the team seems to know. In fact, I'd venture as far as to say that they seem happy. But the judges insist on going deeper and deeper into the issue. The speculative nature of the Q&A session is really interesting. It gives an insight on how the negotiation would have gone in real life. The team still seems to be confident, but less happy now. But they seemed to have satisfied the judges.  

 

Room 9 – Team 10 v Team 27

12:49 - The teams 10 and 27 start the negotiation in Court Room 9, exchanging warm greetings.They begin the negotiation about the joint venture between Blue Lion and Icon Entertainment. They directly jump to the issue of partnership and equity issue. 

12:59 - Blue Lion demands for discretion to decide the issue of infrastructural development of the Shell apart from deciding the managerial aspects. The teams seem to be in for some serious business with the discussions moving from having 50:50 joint venture partnership to other critical aspects of the joint venture. They are vying for an partnership and not just a lease agreement between them. Siblings in arms, eh?

13:20 - Money seems to be the language that the teams are speaking and both teams seem adamant about their price proposals . This clash between Blue Lion and Icon Entertainment seems to be igniting sparks on the negotiation table rather than in the Shell. Will these sparks turn into fireworks at the Shell? Stay tuned..

13:30 - Icon Entertainment seems to be aiming for a long relationship by setting the duration for joint venture at 30 years. They are aiming at going strong but Blue Lion doesn't seem to be ready for such a long commitment. Will they put a ring on it or just shake hands? Mere friends? Noooo, we want the ring! Just kidding, no pressure.

14:03 - With the negotiation coming to an end, the judges now present the teams with questions to get a better view about the overall negotiation by incorporating their views and ideas with the overall objectives set out on the negotiating table. 

 

Room 10 – 204 - Team 33 v Team 11

13:02  - And the second round begins!! Team 33 is representing Icon Entertainment and Team 11 is representing Blue Lion Pty Ltd. They start the negotiation with a broader motive. The starting points are set. The teams, as usual, are calm and composed. Blue Lion does not want a 50-50 partnership. The Lees that Blue Lion will offer is of 125 million dollars which will be divided in a 50-50 partnership.

13:15  - There seems to be a misunderstanding between both the parties. Icon Entertainment wonderfully explains the partnership and lease ideas about the venture to Blue Lion. They also point out that there is flexibility in the 50-50 partnership. At the outset, the contributions of each parties will lead to the shareholding of each party in the joint venture

13:27 - Equal contributions lead to Equal Shareholdings, which further lead to more development!! Indeed, that’s how you go about a joint venture. Blue Lion had alternative ideas on naming the Shell and they demand the naming rights. Icon is hesitant to do so. Blue Lion can offer monetary funds to lubricate that hesitance. The teams seem really competitive. 

13:50 - Icon Entertainment is not interested in having the naming rights. However, the minimum equity set by Icon entertainment for Blue Lion to have naming rights is 10%. Both the parties know the potential of the plot and the types of events that could be held. However, there is an opportunity cost with every brand-sponsored event. The teams diverge on this idea. The discussion continues on the number of events per week and streaming via Blue Line TV. Icon confirms if there are any plans to monetize the streaming of events.

14:15 - Icon entertainment takes the initiative of summarizing. There are agreements and disagreements on some points. The negotiation is postponed for another meeting, which leads us to the Q&A rounds starting with Icon Entertainment. Icon was looking for cash contribution. They think that they had the upper hand in the negotiation. Now comes the Blue Lion Pty. Ltd. The questions are primarily based on the joint venture model. The judges agree on the fact that the team seemed confused during the negotiation. Blue Lion confidently answers the questions put forward. The Q&A round ends!

 

Room 11 – 301-B – Team 13 v Team 14

13:03 - The representatives of Blue Lion propose a time division, proposing setting an agenda in the first 20 mins, brainstorming, unhindered by commitments in the next 25 mins, and finally putting ink to paper in the last 15 mins as the parties try to align their interests. Icon is clearly in a no-nonsense mood, as its counsel clearly states that 'The Shell' is not for sale, merely for lease, but his client suddenly breaks into a smile and tells the representatives of Blue Lion how wonderfully their products would suit the venue. Is it the good old good cop-bad cop routine here?

The client for Blue Lion states that they would like naming rights for the venue and wants to make suitable modifications to the event hosted, but without alienating the already existing user-base of 'The Shell'. 

Icon gets to the nitty-gritties and proposes a pro rata division of investment in the Joint Venture (JV), an almost equal division, though it does give room for a staggered payment over time.

13:11 - Blue Lion questions the need for a large initial capital injection, stating that the facilities of 'The Shell' that they intend to use shall only be used on an event-to-event basis and therefore they propose a lesser share in the JV for them, thus requiring a lesser financial contribution and netting only an event-by-event profit. The client for Blue Lion also states that they would like to become exclusive suppliers for the Shell.

 Blue Lion are really making their case here, as they state that it is not really financially viable for them to become equal partners in a JV, but they list what they can bring to the table. Though its not hard cash, the intangibles they state they can bring to the table, a sizable youth demographic, they can generate buzz for events and new, fresh drinks of course.

Compromise is the spirit of negotiation and as Blue Lion state the non-viability of heavy financial commitments, Icon Entertainment state that they can bring down the years of the lease, from 30 to about 20. Blue Lion is in agreement with this, as they say they'll need about 15 years to create enough of a buzz around the Shell to make it a mainstay on the music circuit. 

13:20 - As finances continues to remain an obstacle, Icon suggests that Blue Lion can give a less amount of money, but then shall only get a 40% share in the JV. However they state that this shall allow Icon Entertainment to give a wider scope on decision-making and expenditures in relation to the Shell. Blue Lion states that their primary agenda is a reasonable amount of control on the events that the Shell hosts.

Icon counters saying that due to the disproportionate share in the JV, they are not willing to give over full control of the events hosted in the venue. Rather Blue Lion can prepare an initial list of the events that they wish were hosted in Shell and the land adjacent, which would be scrutinized by appointed employees of Icon Entertainment and on passing their scrutiny would be hosted by full support from the JV.

14:10 - Blue Lion faces the heat, as the Q&A session begins. They are asked whether they secured their goals, but the team responds with saying that they actually exceeded their goals, having to get only about a 40% share, minimum, which they achieved. However the judge is skeptical of the fact that they will be able to give up to 75 Million Dollars after 3 yrs, if they are struggling to reach 55 Million initially.

The judge questions whether they had any problem with a third party in the JV. Blue Lion states that theoretically it wouldn't have been a problem, but their brand is paramount and it was foreseeable that this 3rd party would host events that would not conform to their brand image, something that is absolutely not in their interests.

14:23 - Now Icon is being questioned, specifically about the rationale behind their idea of involving a 3rd party in the JV. Icon state that it was to decrease the control Blue Lion would extend on the JV. The judge asks them what the final settlement was, and what was the final stake each party held.

The judge questions whether they were okay with issuing them 50% of the shares of the JV despite the fact, that they are only contributing 50 Million upfront for a 250 Million JV. Icon states they shall only give them shares commensurate to their initial cash injection and then shall issue them further shares of the JV after 3 yrs. The judge agrees and says that this is a more business minded method of settling the deal, and wishes them luck in their journey onwards in the competition.

 

Room 12 – 406 -Team 15 v Team 25

13:02 - Team 15 represents Icon Entertainment and Team 25 represents Blue Lion.
Pleasantries are exchanged by the teams and they look very keen to get into this negotiation. Blue Lion explains how brand image is the main reason for committing to this joint venture. Icon rebuts with their 125 million US Dollars estimation of the lease for the Shell for 30 years. Blue Lion responds with 20 percent that is, 40 million US Dollars. This seems like a large gap to bridge, are they going to be engineers and build it, or make the split deeper?

13:28 - The team delves into the side plot next to the Shell. And immediately after that we have an agreement on how the skateboard park should come up in the side plot. Blue Lion wants a minimum of 30 Blue Lion events and they have discretion over these events plus a veto over events which Icon can host in the Shell, Icon immediately disagrees and the arguments are getting heated in here. Icon and Blue Lion are sparring here over which party gets the discretion and veto when it comes to events hosted at the Shell. Though there are several arguments on issues, the teams seem to be making headway here.

13:42 - The offer as it stands at 40 minutes is, 40 million US Dollars, 20 Branded events, with Blue Lion having veto power if they give due reasons. The teams take a minute to confer. B. A compromise seems to have been reached on this where 25 Blue Lion events and where if the investment drops below 10 percent, Blue Lion loses the right to have Branded events. They have agreed to discuss this later. Now the thing Blue Lion have been itching to talk about, naming rights, the Blue Lion wants signage in front but Icon wants it to at the back of the venue.

14:00 - Final stretch of negotiation. Last five minutes and both parties have quickly decided to talk about naming rights at a later date. They agree to have an indemnity contract for Icon Entertainment during Blue Lion events. The parties quickly summarise what have been agreed to. And even here we have disagreements. That is it the round is over. The judges appreciated how well Blue Lion was able to make a distinction signage and naming rights so quickly. They were also impressed with their confidence and body language too. Judges praising a lot, now that's a sight! 

Phew! That was an intense session of negotiation, and with that this round has come to a close. I ain't Lion when I say this round will be ICONic.

 

Room 13 – 408 - Team 16 v Team 31

12:55 - And we start with Round 2. Team 16 represents Blue Lion while Team 31 represents Icon Entertainment. The teams discuss how both of them are considering a long term relationship. The agenda for the meeting has been laid out and the percentage of stake in 'The Shell' is being discussed.

13:10 - The number and the kind of events to be organized in 'The Shell' is now under discussion. Blue Lion is clear about the kind of events that should not happen in 'The Shell' as they are very concerned about their image. Organization of events seem to be an area of concern as their is a long discussion going on it. Both the sides have decided to form a panel to decide on the same.

13:41 - Both the teams have moved onto discuss their respective contributions in the joint venture. Now, Icon Entertainment is proposing various propositions, with regard to the same. With some agreement on this, Icon Entertainment wants to quickly discuss the naming rights before the meeting ends. Teams are now reviewing the agreements they have made today.

13:49 - Judges have begun by asking Team 16 about how they felt their negotiation went. Next, they answer the questions about the contribution that both the sides agreed on.

13:56 - Team 31 is really happy with how the negotiations went. They, then, answer what will they do if the other joint venture partner fails to infuse the capital agreed upon. In a separate issue, the judges feel that the point on the naming rights should have been discussed further.

 

Room 14 - 506 – Team 17 v Team 22

13:08 - So we are off to a very positive start and the teams have introduced themselves and greeted each other. Team 17 represents Icon entertainment, while Team 22 represents Blue lion. Blue Lion has proposed to invest in Icon Entertainment and are willing to negotiate on the amount. While Blue Lion seems to be making a lot of demands, they seem pretty confident about getting them.

13:46 - So the broadcasting issue appears to be resolved quickly, with the parties agreeing on sharing the broadcasting with equal interests. Both the parties seem to be back on track and are swiftly taking down the other issues too.

13:50 - Oh my god!! The parties just seemed to have wrongly calculated the share percentage, which differed by 75 million of cash. That is definitely a lot of money. The parties have again slowed down a bit and are frequently having a discussion among them - they just want to double check before they put out a statement.

14:05 - Last few minutes to the rounds and the parties have summarized their arguments and bingo!! The parties just realized that they have reached an agreement.

14:10 - We are now into the Q&A session and the judges call in first Team 17 (Icon Entertainment). The judges now are getting into the technicalities of the negotiation but are fully satisfied with their reply. Team 22 comes in now and the judges do compliment the team to have introduced seven issues and resolved six of them and got the amount of money in their baggage they wanted to.

 

Room 15 – 515 – Team 26 v Team 16

13:06 - The negotiation starts on a pleasant note. The teams decide at the very outset that they hope to reach a good settlement. Icon Entertainment lays out its agenda; it wishes to discuss issues like exclusive licensing, interest in naming rights, evaluation and future ,web streaming service of Blue Lion. The other team agrees and wants to discuss the nature of the Joint Venture. 

13:19 - Blue Lion shows interest in discussing naming rights, operations before jumping to numbers. The other team agrees and proposes discussion of the events that'll be hostel by Blue Lion. Blue Lion plans on hosting skateboarding, BMX, music events and look forward to 30 events per year. Blue Lion claims that it doesn't have legal interest in the property, but ownership events are significant! Icon Entertainment first desires to discuss the event-hosting aspect. Though it is okay with 30 events, Blue Lion has to maintain minimum 30% equity in the JV in order to exercise exclusive control over the events. Blue Lion agrees! The first settlement is done!! 

 13:30 - Icon Entertainment says that Blue Lion will get to supply it soft-drinks, on the condition that it maintains 30% equity. Blue Lion seems to disagree. Both the seem intent on discussing the equity percentage. Blue Lion wants to know if there are different equity caps, which Icon Entertainment explains that they just consider 30% equity as a bare minimum. The parties discuss this amicably. 

13:46 - Blue Lion raises its concern about the rights, and exercising those. It stresses on how it'll bring people into the Shell. But Icon Entertainment wishes to discuss the evaluation. Icon Entertainment would like. According to Icon Entertainment, Blue Lion's proposal of 60 million in the total JV share will fall short of the minimum requirement of 30%. Blue Lion stands on its position It focuses on all the benefits that it'll bring to the Shell. But Icon Entertainment feels that Blue Lion's proposal is not acceptable, it's too low an amount! 

 13:56 - Both the teams continue negotiating about the equity share. Blue Lion emphasizes on 65 million, as the last resort, but Icon Entertainment holds that 70 million has to be minimum, because it needs initial cash flow. At the risk of digressing, Blue Lion wants to know the extent of naming rights that it'll get. Icon Entertainment says that both the reams could sit together and decide the name. Blue Lion wants the naming rights for minimum 10 years, but Icon Entertainment does not consider keeping time-period on naming rights as a feasible option. Okay, both the teams agree on naming rights throughout. 

14:0 - Q-A has now started. The judges now question Icon Entertainment. The judges enquire about the reason for sticking to "30%", Icon Entertainment explains how it feels that 30% was a bare minimum. The team answers the questions confidently.

14:12  - The judges question Blue Lion now. They again point out certain important issues that weren't discussed, and certain strategical aspects of negotiation. The team is calm, and explains its position. 

 

Room 16 - 517 - Team 20 v Team 29

13:08 - The second preliminary round of the competition has begun! Here in Room 16 we have Team 20 representing Icon and Team 29 representing Blue Lion. Icon clarifies their interests to Blue Lion and the discussion on the Shell continues. The relationship between the parent company Icon Limited and the subsidiary Icon Entertainment Pty. Ltd is also clarified. The atmosphere in the negotiation room is serious and the parties have gotten down to business from the get go. 

13:36 - Icon wants the Shell to be the best live music venue and thus wants a capital injection. Discussions on the length of the Joint Venture and the various events, which will take place in the Shell ensue. Blue Lion wants at least 30 Blue Lion sponsored events in the Shell.

13:51 - The parties here are not holding any cards back and the negotiation is being carried out in a serious tone. More discussion on the target crowd, the branding, the new soft drink being introduced by Blue Lion and the use that Blue Lion envisages for the plot of land adjacent to the Shell take place. 

14:10 - The parties move on to summarising their discussion as the negotiation comes to an end. Time for the Q&A session!

14:16 - The Q&A session for the party representing Blue Lion begins. The judges ask them questions regarding their negotiation style and their idea of joint branding for the venue. Blue Lion explains their interests to the Judge.

14:27 - The judges now begin questioning the party on behalf of Icon. The judges drill them on their beginning the negotiations with a 50:50 requirement. The Q&A session now comes to an end.  

 

Room 17 –  518 - Team 24 v Team 30

13:09 -  Team 24, representing Icon Private Limited and Team 30, representing Blue Lion introduce themselves and set off the negotiation with their own structure of arguments. Lion starts off with the agenda of acquiring the naming rights of the shell and gradually dives into intricacies of the joint venture. Oh wait, Icon states that they would lease out the Shell for 125 million dollars with a 50-50 joint venture! Blue Lion views the proposition as too confining, and disagrees with the 50-50 split. 

13:25 - After a series of disagreements on multiple issues from deciding the nature of events allowed to be held in the Shell to veto rights, the conversation shifts to classical music, Beethoven, and Neo Nazi marches - seems like they have an interesting spectrum of issues to discuss! The negotiation turns itself again to the monetary digits of investment, with Blue Lion trying hard to lower its investment rate. Icon appreciates their mutual agreement for sufficient profits and increasing quality of the venue. 

13:39 - Woah, Blue Lion seems to be getting what it wants while the Icon tries to constantly hush the proposed investment rates under the carpet. They don't quite succeed in deciding whether there should be a 20% investment for 5 years or just 5 million dollars, but it looks like they're shuffling topics to hide their inhibitions about each other's proposals. Finally, Blue Lion agrees to 6 million! We finally head to be on the same tangent. 

13:50 - Blue Lion confesses that almost all colas taste the same and Icon responds with a definite reasoning mentioning the particular and differentiated fans of Pepsi and Coca-Cola. Who could've thought that the negotiation would involve the nature and taste of soft drinks?! Icon states that profits are not of a major concern to them, but the confidence of the customers should not be harmed from the consumption of soft drinks. Hail the power of soft drinks!

14:03 - With only 5 minutes remaining, it looks like the negotiation has almost come to an end. Both parties after sharing significant moments of silence, and consulting their partners, finally agree on 30 million for 3 years as the initial investment and a 70-30 split (quite in favor of Blue Lion). It appears almost like a feat after some taxing dialogue, ranging from naming rights, arbitration, and alternative measures for the investment breakdown. The negotiation shows signs of being controlled by Blue Lion majorly but may the odds be in favor of the best drink! 

 

15.30 Quarter-Finals: Breaks

The breaks for the Quarter-Finals are now out! The eight teams that have moved forward are:

1) University of Technology Sydney
2) Dalhousie University
3) Melbourne University
4) University of Queensland
5) National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata
6) Bristol University
7) Exeter University
8) National Law University, Odisha

We congratulate the teams and wish them best for the rounds! The results of the Quarter-Finals will be announced at the formal dinner at Lodi - The Garden Restaurant tonight.

 

 

QUARTER FINALS: SPLASH DOWN

 

Room 2 – 101 – NLU Odisha v University of Technology Sydney

16:30 - Warm greetings characterise the beginning of this session, and the two teams, without beating around the bush, get right down to it. Both teams want mutual exclusivity, and want to make sure that the other's interests lie in the same direction. Hydrom professes full support to Nymphs, with regard to their negotiations with SoS, expressing their great interest in acquiring Splash One. Charlie Trout, the CEO of Nymphs, talks about his positive relationship with the President of SoS, and desires to transfer this relationship to Hydrom as well.

16:45 - Hydrom is prepared to sign an undertaking to fund SoS's projects, but in return, they want an assurance from SoS that no further protests regarding the depletion of salmon in the River Forth will take place. Hydrom questions Nymphs regarding the independence of Scotland from the UK, which would result in subsidy cuts for energy, which could cause a problem to the functioning of the power plant. Nymphs is not open to a MAC clause in the agreement, unless prior discussions regarding its scope take place. 

17:00 - The teams move on to discussing diligence. Hydrom desires to learn about the process that Nymphs employs in obtaining consent, but Nymphs is not too enthusiastic about this, since it involves the disclosure of sensitive information. The teams, thus, discuss the possibility of a non-disclosure agreement. Nymphs, however, is more amenable to disclosure, if and when an issue arises. A long discussion takes place on indemnity clauses, with assurances that any dispute in the future would be settled amicably. Nymphs is eager to sign the deal within the month, so that negotiations with SoS can also be sped up and concluded. 

17:15 - The teams discuss the timeline of the deal, as Hydrom is not entirely agreeable to a 6 month-long process to hand Splash One over to them. The teams finally agree on 5 months; bridging the divide between the two teams. Now comes the most important part - the price. Nymphs is looking at $120 million, while Hydrom wants to pay $100 million. For Nymphs, it's been a long investment, both of time and money. Nymphs suggests a bonus gain, if the revenue of Splash One goes along projected lines. They want $110 million upfront, with the remaining $10 million being paid over the next 5 years, subject to certain milestones being met. 

17:20 - Unfortunately, due to lack of time, the teams are unable to reach an agreement, and are forced to postpone further discussion. Well, you can't have everything! 

17:45 - We move on to the Q&A sessions now, beginning with Team 33. The judges put forward some very intricate queries, which are effectively and clearly answered by the team. Several of the techniques and methods used by the team are questioned, but they have strong reasoning to back their actions.

Moving on to Team 19. The judges' questions cover a wide range of aspects of the team's arguments, and the team is kept on its toes to prove its points. The judges even provide a certain amount of feedback to the team. 

With that, we come to the end of this session of the quarterfinals! A class apart, as far as negotiation is concerned!

 

Room 4 – 103 – Exeter University v Dalhousie University

16:31 - The stakes are high in the quarterfinals. The parties set the agenda as the price and technology of the deal as also the details of the arrangement and to foster a synergy that would protect the interests of both parties. Great Hydron doesn't waste much time in addressing the elephant in the room and asks Nymphs point blank about the threat that the 'Saviours of the Sea' (SoS) could prove to the deal. Nymphs downplays the magnitude of SoS and states that it shouldn't be a hurdle.

16:48 - Further, Nymphs predicts it can be done with the consent process for the 'Splash' project within 4 months. Hydrom agrees, but asks for leeway to explore other avenues if the consent process takes too long. Hydrom also expresses concern over the political uncertainties with respect to the referendum. 

17:00  - Hydrom asserts for a 5-month period of exclusivity wherein the parties can decide issues of SoS and maybe have an audit in that duration.  The parties, in addition to reaching upon a consensus on the period of exclusivity, also agree on 14 weeks as the time period for the completion of the project. In a bid to protect its interests, Hydrom asks for the insertion of a termination/re-negotiation clause, which is agreed upon. 

Further, Hydrom agrees to accept the risk with respect to SoS, if Nymphs can accept the risk of the Scottish referendum. Hydrom demands that Nymphs returns them the sale price if a second referendum goes through since there investment in this deal is a lot more than Nymph's.  Further, Hydrom also proposes that it will not add a Material Adverse Event Clause (MAC clause), if Nymphs is ready to reveal their books to Hydrom to check their licenses, regulatory standards and risk assessments. Hydrom also proposes to sign a non-disclosure agreement to protect Nymph's intellectual property.

17:10 - The parties then move towards the much anticipated 'money' talk, wherein Hydrom proposes to pay 80 million upfront, which it raises to a 90, stating that they have met Nymphs halfway on every other tangent. They go so far as to state the possibility of prospective partnering for their future hydroelectric ventures, if Nymphs is ready to lower the 120 million sale price. Hydrom also agrees to pay 5 million for certification that Nymphs would require for their next project with Hydrom.

17:20 - Nymphs states that its Board has restricted it from going below a 115 million, to which Hydrom proposes that if it agrees to pay the said amount, it becomes entitled to 20 million off of Nymphs' next project coupled with deliberations in the future about the inclusion of a MAC clause. Parties reach a point of consensus. 

17:35 - On being questioned as to why they agreed to a 20 million share being given to Hydrom, Nymphs states that they saw the potential to exploit the ambiguity of the proposition, which is why they did not agree to the 85 million upfront payment proposed by Hydrom, even though it could've proved to be more lucrative. 

17:45  - Next, Hydrom was 'put on the stand' and questioned about anything they thought was a slip up. To this, Hydrom replied by saying that maybe the price could've been a slight slip up, although it did give them a portal to build a relationship with respect to Nymph's next initiative. Hydrom was also grilled about its liberal approach of taking half the fall for SoS to which it states that it would want to look at Nymph's audits and then take positive steps towards SoS. The judges also pointed out loopholes in Hydrom's exclusivity period, since such was not absolute and could be overturned by the courts in certain situations. Lastly, Hydrom was also questioned about the lack of consensus on audit of Nymphs Ltd. and the MAC clause.

 

Room 5 - 104 – University of Bristol v University of Melbourne

16:55  - The teams have exchanged pleasantries and the round has begun on a positive note. Both the teams seem confident and determined. Team 25 representing Hardhome, while Team 27 for Water Nymphs. The teams have made their respective agendas clear, and expressed what they hope to achieve from this negotiation. The beginning of the negotiation seems to be about consensus. The parties have set the ground rules and started with business. The counsel for Hardhome has started asking tough questions about the details of the project, but Nymph seems to be well equipped to answer them. The skill of the teams is evident early in the negotiation, and they seem to working really well in order to be successful in their respective aims.  

17:15 - The first dispute seemed to have popped up. Nymph has brought up some concerns about the project, and Hardhome seems to be trying really hard to address the concerns. As the discussion becomes more and more intense, more and more problems seem to coming up. New disputes are popping up continuously and the teams are working very hard to resolve them in a way, which serves their respective interests. Water Nymph is coming up innovative ideas to resolve the issues. But the problem is the disagreement on core issues. Let us see how this works out. The tensions are reaching unprecedented peaks.  

17:30 - Oh dear lord! Finally some relief. The teams have finally reached some kind of consensus after tough negotiating. Hardhome negotiated really smartly to have the price suit their aims, while the team period seemed to be the mutual effort both the teams. The most interesting thing about this particular negotiation was the determination of both the teams to have their way, but reach a settlement nevertheless. 

17:37 - The Q&A session has begun on an interesting not. The judges have asked Team 25 to explain the reason why they chose to negotiate in a particular order. The team seems confident enough that they knew what they were doing. The judges ask more questions about  why the team seemed so interested in  a particular issue. The team gives a seemingly satisfactory answer. The judges look happy with what they hear. The overall mood of the Q&A session seems to be pleasant. 

17:46 - Q&A session for Team 27 begins with a couple of direct and to the point questions from the judges, to which the team gives clear and concise answers. The judges have begun to cross-question them about their answers. However, the confidence of the team does not seem to reduce. They appear to pretty clear about their strategy, which they are explaining quite well. The judges seem to be quite impressed. They do find certain problems in the answers, which they seem to explain. The Team takes it quite well, and gives inputs, which again seem to make the judges happy. The judges ask a couple of more small questions and the team gives confident answers. With this Q&A session is over. 

 

Room 6 - 105 - NUJS, Kolkata v University of Queensland

16:23 - After a round of courtesies, Team 20, representing Water Nymphs, and Team 31, representing Great Hydrom, reaffirmed the fact that they had the authority to negotiate on behalf of their companies. WN jumped straight into the deep end, taking the opportunity to address the issues with SOS. They assure that they'll get the organisation on their side and that the salmon population would not be affected. Both teams seem to be taking the discussions slowly, engaging in great depth and seem quite responsive. Let's see how the discussion proceeds!

16:39 - The protest by SOS seems to be taking over the discussion. GH, being an environmentally conscious company, doesn't want to invest in a problematic asset. WN too, believes in keeping the organisation on their side and assures that the problem will be dealt with. Both teams seem quietly assured and are definitely on the lookout for their mutual interest, a quality both surprising and rare! Discussions seem to be moving as the teams shift to talk about the financial investment. This discussion is bound to be interesting!

16:50 - Things still proceed smoothly as GH proposes exclusivity between themselves and WN, which WN is amenable to fit into their timeline. While the first price proposed by GH is much lower than expected by WN, we see the signs of a blossoming relationship as both teams seem agreeable to conduct business together in the future! GH also proposes a clause to protect them from the fallout from the Scottish referendum, which WN seem reluctant to sign. After all, who could control the political consequences?

16:56 - We may be seeing the first signs of friction over the whether WN's acceptance of a lower price would express their interest in the transaction and over the result of the Scottish referendum. WN wouldn't like a termination event clause in the Material Adverse Affects clause, but seem conciliatory to it if GH is adamant on it. The outcome of the referendum is emerging as the elephant in the room, which needs to be addressed. 

17:05 - WN takes a moment to confer amongst themselves and then proposes replacement of the termination clause with an option to renegotiate. There seems to be a miscommunication as well, as the CEO of WN agrees in principle to the clause while the counsel feels the need to clarify further. With the addition of the exclusivity clause as well, there are smiles all around and a general air of consensus in the room!

17:11 - The discussion now moves to the issue of due diligence. WN seems reluctant to divulge their trade secrets, though, leading to GH proposing a confidentiality clause. And again, we have consensus as both teams agree to one! Both teams seem surprised at how quickly they've concurred to the majority of the issues! Both WN and GH then sketch out a timeline that works for them. They also agree on a one-month exclusivity period provided that GH receives the due diligence. Consensus seems to flow like greased lightning here!

17:20 - The issue of SOS has again cropped up into the conversation. GH has committed to helping in salmon farming initiatives to appease them. WN also seems to want to play it safe, requesting a 6-month extension to negotiate with the organisation as well. Surprisingly, the CEO of GH agrees even though it may delay the timeline! They also agree to continue their business relationship. NW, moreover, seems amenable to even taking a substantially reduced price in order to continue their business relationship over the property in Wales.

We seem to have a record-beating finish as both parties finish their negotiation before time is called!

 

22:00 - Semi-finals: Breaks

After a grueling Quarter Final round and a really fun night at Lodi - The Garden Restaurant, we are proud to inform you of the 4 teams that are progressing to the Semi Final Round. They are:

1) University of Technology Sydney
2) Exeter University
3) Melbourne University
4) University of Queensland

See you tomorrow, for the sem-finals and finals!

 

 

SEMI-FINALS: IT'S A RACY SITUATION

 

Room 2 - 101- University of Queensland v University of Technology Sydney

11:04 - Good morning, ladies and gentlemen! We start off today with the Semifinal round between the University of Queensland, representing Egon Mesk(EM) and the University of Technology Sydney, representing Norwadia Sovereign Wealth Fund(NSWF). The cursory greetings are followed by a swift statement by EM about his disappointment with the motion to remove him.The counsel for EM too, takes the opportunity to draw up an agenda on the board. Despite the conflict-ridden nature of the discussion, it is surprising to see how conciliatory the parties seem! 

11:17 - The teams seem to be gelling extremely well, with EM offering to step down as CEO. Quite a surprising move! He does stress on continuing his involvement in the Stable, though. The discussion shifts to EM's future in the company. NSWF is amenable to harnessing his experience and continuing his involvement with the horses. He is also offered a directorship on the board of the company. EM himself steps into the discussion, saying that everybody has been discussing his interests but himself. He raises his concerns about the public perception and says he would like to remain as CEO, be it in name only. What will follow this shocking turn?
 
11:25 - EM has made things a bit easier in the negotiation by saying he would be ready to remain a CEO in name while training someone to take over his duties. He emphasizes on maintaining that masquerade by keeping the details of this arrangement confidential. And we see him trying to wrest lifetime membership in the Stable, from the other party, after he leaves the company as well! NSWF has calmly been managing EM's requests, setting boundaries where they feel necessary and acquiescing to the demands where required! The teams move on to having an extended discussion on how the life membership would work for other members as well. It will surely be interesting to see what they come up with!
 
11:35 - The first signs of friction are apparent as NSWF insists on having a behavioral clause. EM is extremely reluctant, given the broad wording of the clause. The negotiation turns to scope of the clause, whether it is a part of the lifetime membership and whether it applies to EM's general functioning as well. EM adopts quite a hard stance, firmly stating that he finds it quite insulting. His counsel rushes to reconciliate, saying they would appreciate a clause that is more specific. This negotiation seems to be heating up!
 
11:45 - EM stresses on his attachment to the Stable and amicably agrees to NSWF's proposition of the behavioural clause applying only to speaking out against the company. NSWF also raises the issue of access and use of the trophies won, which is contingent on adherence to the behavioural clause. The counsel for NSWF quickly sums up the negotiation agreed so far and the discussion moves on. EM raises the issue of hosting high profile events at the Stable. We reach a consensus as NSWF goes so far so as to offer funding for them! With acquiescence on both sides, the teams seem committed to cultivating a long-lasting relationship!
 
11:52 - The teams also agree on presenting a united front to the media. We have achieved consensus, ladies and gentlemen, as the teams take a chance to run through the terms they have agreed on so far-EM remains CEO with certain restriction, he gets a life membership and an annual gala is hosted in his name. The counsel for EM clarifies whether NSWF requires shareholder approval for the arrangement as well. The teams agree to a deal and we come to a spectacular conclusion before time is called!
 
12:17 - With the end of the negotiation, we kick off with the Q&A session. The judges start with EM first, asking them whether they were able to discuss everything they wishes to. They are also interrogated on their strategy of keeping EM on as a CEO in name only, rather than staying on as in an advisory role as a Chairman. EM gives good answers to the questions, stressing on how they were able to get most of what they wanted due to the relationship they were able to establish with the other team. They do concede that the behavioural clause was a speed bump. On a whole, the judges seem satisfied with the answers.
 
NSWF is up next. When asked about their reflections on the negotiation, they agree that the conversation got slightly muddled up regarding the life membership. Thy are questioned on their strategy towards EM. They address all issues in their answers. The judges also raise certain issues where they could have gone into more detail or which didn't come up in the discussion. They were also interrogated about their decision to allow EM to stay on as CEO and on the issue of the trophies. With satisfactory answers all around, we wrap up with the Q&A session!
 
 
Room 5 - 104 - Exeter University v University of Melbourne

11:00 - Good morning, one and all, and welcome to this year's semifinals! In this session, Team 7, Exeter University, representing Egon Mesk (EM), will face off against Team, 27, Melbourne University, representing NSWF. The teams and judges have arrived, and we are all set to begin! 

11:15 - The negotiation is now underway. We have a frosty start, with a certain amount of hostility on both sides. EM is quite disappointed by his treatment at the hands of the Shareholders, because he has built the company from the ground up, along with NSWF. Thus, he feels that his actions in asking for an injunction are completely justified. NSWF seems to be taking a hard-ball approach to this negotiation. A smart move, or a recipe for disaster?

11:30 - The question of confidentiality is turning out to be a core aspect of this negotiation. EM cannot reveal information on how to improve the Stable's performance, while NSWF wants full confidentiality of the current negotiation. EM's reputation in the world of horse-racing is a main point in his argument to remain as CEO. He suggests that the company keep him on as CEO for one more year, in which he will turn things around. At the end of the year, further negotiations can take place. 

11:45 - There's been a sudden change in stance! EM seems amenable to staying on as President and has given up the argument to stay on as CEO. NSWF continues with its style, not backing down on its arguments, but remaining open to suggestions. How will the judges view this? The teams now discuss EM's desire to remain in control of the Stable's merchandise sales. He also wants access to the VIP marquees, trophies and jockey jerseys and wants them to be displayed prominently, which is in consonance with his desire to be the face of the Stable. 

12:00 - The valuation of the company is the next topic of discussion. While EM wants an independent valuation and 15% of that value, NSWF has full faith in its own valuation and is not open to the suggestion. They want to cap the amount of the independent valuation, but EM points out that this would be detrimental to the Stable's interests. EM looks to wrap up the negotiations, and wants NSWF to buy out the whole 15% of his shares in the company. EM wants $90 million for it but is willing to go down to $85million. NSWF is agreeable, and has already prepared a preliminary agreement. And we have consensus! 

12:20 - The Q&A now begins! Melbourne University is the first to be subjected to the judges' questioning. The judges clarify the final agreement made, because there seems to be some ambiguity between the teams regarding that. They question whether NSWF actually achieved its objective by allowing EM to stay on as President. Strong reasoning and facts back up the team's answers, and knowledge of how the law works also adds substance to their answers. 

It's Exeter University's turn now. Their primary focus and secondary interests in the negotiation are questioned, and so are the terms of the President's tenure. The question of clarity between the teams comes up again. There also questions regarding the commercial background of the discussions that took place. The team effectively explains its stance and the reasoning behind their various arguments, and are able to satisfy the judges' queries. 
 
With this, we arrive at the end of this session of the semi finals! Some high-class negotiation was on display here, and both teams have done an excellent job. Do tune in to the finals! 
 
 
13:30 - Finals: Breaks
 
The results of the Semi Final Round are out!
 
This edition's Final Round will be between University of Melbourne and University of Technology, Sydney. It will be judged by an illustrious panel of 5 judges: HMJ Rajiv Sahai Endlaw (Judge, Delhi High Court), HMJ Mohan Pieris (Former Chief Justice of Sri Lanka), Mr. Chris Parsons (Chairman, India Practice, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP), Mr. Ish Bali (Business Unit Counsel, Coca Cola India), and Mr. Bhaskar Chandran (Group President - Legal, GMR Group).
 
Stay tuned for a blow by blow account of this intense battle!

 

 

FINALS: DANGER, HIGH VOLTAGE!

 

Room 301B - University of Melbourne v University of Technology Sydney

15: 25 - Good afternoon, one and all, and welcome to the finals of this year's competition! The matchup that we have all been waiting for, is finally here, and boy, is it a good one! We have the University of Melbourne representing Mexicano Oil and Gas plc (MOGL), while the team from the University of Technology, Sydney, is representing Ernie Tusk (Ernie), the founder of Voltage Cars Limited (Voltage). The teams and judges are all ready to begin, and we are underway!

15:38 - The round begins with introductions and an exchange of agendas between the teams. Both teams give a broad outline of the circumstances that have brought them to the current negotiations. The discussions begin with talks on the value of the 15% that MOGL intends to acquire, and Voltage has valued the shares at US$180 million. However, US$80 million is what MOGL believes the value is. This valuation has been reached on the basis of the various recent problems faced by Voltage.  
 
15:52 - A discussion on due diligence and the timeline of the project ensues. Ernie is amenable to signing a contractual agreement regarding the latter, in order to protect the interests of both parties. Ernie vehemently rejects the allegations of fraud and intellectual property theft against Voltage. MOGL suggests that it could receive a contractual warranty that Ernie has no understanding or knowledge of any tax proceedings, and Ernie is amenable to the same. The costs of Voltage's current workspace comes under question, and MOGL suggests a $10 million cost, in contrast to the $15 million that VOltage currently spends. 
 
16:05 - Both, MOGL and Voltage, are very intent on keeping communications open and continuous interaction, post the agreement. MOGL wants a right to preemption to any new share issuance, as well as a right to approval of any new investors. However, Voltage is not agreeable to this. MOGL is quite concerned about Ernie remaining as the majority stakeholder in Voltage, since they want to understand the direction in which Voltage is going. The question of the litigation initiated by Steve Bozniak, is termed as frivolous by Ernie. 
 
16:17 - MOGL wants Voltage to take responsibility for any damage caused to the company in case of any adverse finding in the intellectual property theft litigation, in the form of a capped or an uncapped indemnity. However, further discussion regarding of this point is postponed, in order to discuss the issue of the life of the mechanical parts of the electric cars that Voltage makes. Voltage is clear that there is no proof that the parts spoken about in the ScienceNow report are the same that they use.
 
16:27 - The team's move on to what seems the final point of discussion, which is the due diligence. Voltage's concern is the leakage of sensitive information with respect to their technology. After the discussions, MOGL has reached a valuation of US$100 million for the 15%, considering the points brought up in the negotiation. The teams summarise the various points brought up, which could potentially affect the valuation of the 15%, as well as the liability of Voltage. MOGL has prepared a preliminary agreement, but Voltage is not too enthusiastic about signing the agreement in a rush. The two sides agree to bridge the gaps between their interests, and to discuss them in further negotiations. Sorry folks, no consensus reached today!
 
16:55 - It's time to move on to the Q&A session! We begin with the University of Technology, Sydney. One tough question after another is posed to them, about their tactics and the arguments made by them. They are even subjected to some criticism. The judges take turns in getting their queries answered, and some very intricate questions come up. The team has to admit to certain mistakes made by them. We must wait for the results to find out whether their answers were satisfactory! 
 
It's the University of Melbourne's turn now! Their true interest in reaching an agreement in the negotiation is questioned, and certain things done by them are criticised by the judges. Their objective in making several arguments are questioned, as the judges don't see what they would achieve towards concluding the negotiation. Was the team able to effectively and clearly satisfy the judges' curiosity? We'll find out soon! 
 
17:30 - 'In a negotiation, you must rememeber that attention spans are very small.' Hmm, while it is vital to keep this in mind when adopting a negotiation strategy, we must say, with full praise for the teams, that they really did hold our complete attention. Good job!
 
Well, folks, we've reached the end of the finals! I'm sure we're all extremely excited (a little anxious, too) to learn which team shall emerge as the winner. The results shall be revealed to us at the valedictory ceremony! Do tune in! 

 

 

VALEDICTORY CEREMONY

 

18:45 - Ladies and gentlemen, we kick off now with the Valedictory Ceremony! On the dais today we have HMJ Rajiv Sahai Endlaw (Judge, Delhi High Court), HMJ Mohan Pieris(Former Chief Justice of Sri Lanka), Mr. Chris Parsons (Chairman, India Practice, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP), Prof. (Dr.) Ranbir Singh(Vice-Chancellor, NLU Delhi) and Prof. (Dr.) G.S. Bajpai(Registrar, NLU Delhi).

18:50 - Prof. (Dr.) Ranbir Singh starts off the ceremony with a lovely speech! He welcomes the various dignitaries and judges, and also thanks the teams for coming. He ends the speech by inviting feedback from everyone about the event. Thank you for the kind words, sir!
 
18:55 - Mr. Chris Parsons now addresses this august gathering. With his signature wit and charm, he assures the various teams that law isn't actually as hectic as the competition was! A special mention is given to the Nigerian team, for their skills and enthusiasm. Mr. Parsons goes on to appreciate the efforts of the organizing committee and the volunteers during the competition. His parting words are quite impactful - he exhorts all the participants to use their intelligence well. He also talks about the importance of being connected in this world, and that we should accept ourselves as we are. You have clearly given us a lot to think about, sir!
 
19:05 - HMJ Mohan Pieris now takes the stage. He starts off by thanking Herbert Smith Freehills. He raises an issue, one that is quite profound - we all negotiate with each other daily. He points out the importance of negotiation and how it is not an art that is widely taught. He also stresses on the power of negotiation. HMJ Pieris takes a moment to appreciate the participants' performance, and how this bodes well for everybody. We are quite honoured to have you amongst us today, sir!
 
19:15 - HMJ Endlaw is the next to grace us with his sage words. He emphasizes the need for a change in law curriculum due to the emergence of artificial intelligence. Moreover, changes need to be made given the emergence of arbitration as a method of conflict resolution. He stresses on the need to listen carefully in order to be a good advocate or negotiator. He states that negotiation is the skill of tomorrow. He also took the time to congratulate the two teams and how tough it was to judge the round! You are too kind, sir!
 
19:25 - Prof. (Dr.) G.S. Bajpai now distributes the participation certificates to the participants. Prof. (Dr.) Ranbir Singh distributes the certificates the quarterfinalists - Bristol University, Dalhousie University, NLU Odisha, NUJS Calcutta - and the semifinalists- Exeter University and University of Queensland.
 
19:30 - HMJ Mohan Pieris hands out the award of 'Best Negotiation Plan' to NLU Odisha. HMJ Endlaw gives the award of 'Best Negotiator' to Jack Fogl of University of Technology Sydney. Mr. Chris Parsons awards the 'Spirit of the Competition' award to Obafemi University. The loud laughter, hoots and clapping in the hall are a true testament to how they upheld the spirit of the competition!
 
19:33 - Finally, the moment everybody has been waiting with bated breath for! The plaque for Runners-Up is given to Melbourne University. Congratulations are in order! And finally, the Winner of the 4th HSF-NLU Delhi International Negotiation Competition is declared to be University of Technology Sydney! They will be taking home the victor's cup!
 
19:47 - The vote of thanks is given by Prof. Daniel Mathew, an Assistant Professor at NLUD, who is also the faculty coordinator for the competition. He takes the time to thank the dignitaries who graced us with their presence. He thanks the administration at NLU Delhi and Herbert Smith Freehills for lending their support to the competition. He concludes by appreciating the efforts of the Organising Committee and thanks the participants for their presence. 
 
The event comes to an end with the Organising Committee screening a recap video compilation they prepared for the participants, which is met with chuckles and thunderous applause. 
 
And with that, we conclude the 4th HSF-NLU Delhi International Negotiation Competition!
 
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