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6th Herbert Smith Freehills - NLU Delhi International Negotiation Competition 2019

The 6th Herbert Smith Freehills - NLU Delhi International Negotiation Competition is being jointly organised by National Law University, Delhi and Herbert Smith Freehills LLP from 06-08 September.

An estimated 48-minute read
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National Law University, Delhi in collaboration with Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is set to organise the 2nd edition of the International Negotiation Competition from 11-13 September 2015.

The competition was started last year as the first of its kind in India, which sought to introduce students of top law universities across the globe to international negotiations and to hone their skills, with simulations being as close as possible to 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.

Last year, 14 teams participated in the event including Australian National University, University of Cambridge and University of Cologne. The 2015 edition promises to be even more exciting, with 22 teams participating which includes 11 teams flying down to India from across the globe.

This year, the competition will see the teams compete in two gruelling preliminary rounds. The first round’s simulation embodies the spirit of the competition – It’s All About Communication. Negotiating teams are assigned one of two parties: NewdoniaNetworks, a mobile network operator, or Global Communications Inc., a multinational Internet and television services provider. Global Communications, reeling from losses from a prior investment, is now seeking to acquire NewdoniaNetworks, which is mired in a legal dispute that could cost it access to important radio transmission towers.

The second round, Checkmate, is a negotiation between the Hampshire Fighting Cubs, a team competing in the International Chess League, and the Donatella National Corporation, an investment fund set up to invest in the league. The Cubs are looking to invest in two new players, and Donatella might have the solution to their problem, except for one thing – Donatella is known for being extremely shrewd with its investments.

Qualifying teams will progress to the semi-final rounds, where another interesting problem, Off The Rails, awaits them. Delays in the construction of a rail link has jeopardised the agreements between a construction company and a government-owned company, and it is up to the participants to reach a settlement to avoid the matter reaching the courts. The last chapter in the 2015 edition of the competition, On the Ball, is a negotiation simulation between a company that owns an English football club and a Qatari wealth fund, which are seeking to finalise the terms of a joint venture agreement aimed at buoying the football team’s prospects in the Barclays Premier League.

At the end of the competition, the Best Negotiation Team will win a cash prize of INR 1,00,000 (~1000 GBP). The Runners Up will receive a cash prize of INR 50,000 (500 GBP). The Best Negotiator and the team with the Best Negotiation Plan will receive a cash prize of INR 20,000 (~200 GBP) each. The competition provides a unique opportunity for anyone who aspires to be an international lawyer.

Best of luck to all participating teams!

 

11 SEPTEMBER 2015: INAUGURATION CEREMONY & COMPETITION BRIEFING

 

17:00: And we're off, ladies and gentleman! The Inauguration Ceremony kicks off by Savy, the Student Co-ordinator of the event, introducing the dais and the competition to the participants. Looking at those excited faces is a treat to the eyes! He also introduces the a new award - Spirit of the Competition Award. This will be decided by the teams themselves, where they will vote for the team they think managed to uphold the spirit of this competition.

17:05: On the dais today we have Mr. Mark Bardell, Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills, Prof. (Dr.) G.S. Bajpai, Registrar, National Law University, Delhi, and Mr. Siddharth Shukla, Associate, Herbert Smith Freehils. We can't wait to hear them speak!

The teams participating in this year's competition are:

  1. Australian National University
  2. Deakin University
  3. GLC, Mumbai
  4. Gujarat National Law University
  5. Hidayatullah National Law University
  6. ILS Law College, Pune
  7. Jindal Global Law School, Sonepat
  8. King’s College, London
  9. Lahore University of Management Sciences
  10. Melbourne University (Australia)
  11. NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad
  12. National Law Institute University, Bhopal
  13. National Law School of India University, Bengaluru
  14. National Law Univeristy Jodhpur
  15. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, Lucknow
  16. Sydney University
  17. University of Cambridge
  18. University of Cologne
  19. University of Hong Kong
  20. University of New South Wales, Sydney
  21. University of Oxford
  22. University of Passau
  23. West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata

17:10: Prof. Bajpaibegins by thanking Herbert Smith Freehills for the opportunity to organise the competition in NLU Delhi, and helping provide exposure to the students to the field of ADR (Alternate Dispute Resolution). He highlights the importance of ADR to commercial activities and transactions, and provides an insight into how Negotiation is a crucial skill which every lawyer must possess. Prof. Bajpai also mentions the clinic course run at NLU Delhi so as to be able to sensitise the students to the field of ADR. He wishes the participants luck for the event, and welcomes everyone to NLU Delhi!

17:15: Mr. Bardellnow takes the podium and begins by welcoming everyone to the competition, and India. He thanks NLU Delhi and the organising committee for organising the event in its 2nd year. He then moves on to explain the importance of negotiation to a lawyer, mentioning how crucial it is for a them to understand the needs of their client and work around them. Besides this, he mentions that knowing the skill and applying it at an International Stage provides for an even more exciting experience! He goes on to share a story from his career, and how the skill helped him successfully represent his client. He wishes everyone best of luck for the competition! We're glad to have had someone like him address the participants

As we now move on to the Competition Briefing and Penalty Appeals, which is exclusively for the participants, the blogging team takes your leave for the day. A very exciting day awaits us tomorrow, with two preliminary rounds followed by the formal event at Lodi - The Garden Restaurant.

See you all tomorrow!

 

12 SEPTEMBER 2015: PRELIMINARY ROUNDS & FORMAL EVENT

PRELIMINARY ROUND 1: IT'S ALL ABOUT COMMUNICATION

Team 15 v. 24

10:08: We're off to a slightly delayed, but interesting start here. While Team 15 has already started with the issues, Team 24 wants a confidentiality agreement signed, and a letter of intent as well. Do we see a first tussle here? Both teams want to start with their own methods!

10:20: Aaaaand Team 15 have their way! Team 15 is absolutely sure Faulty Towers Ltd. is not going to affect this deal. But Team 24, Global Communications Inc. are not going to let this issue slide easily. They propose, and successfully reach, an agreement on a conditional transfer agreement. Things seem to be going well for Team 24!

10:30: GC explains its conditional transfer. And we have an agreement here! But Team 24 wants another due diligence agreement signed, along with a non-refundable access fee for due dilligence. Boy, do they want money! But GC is shrewd. Just keep the interest from our initial down payment, they say. Agreed!

10:40: And we have the first disagreement, on the amount of time for exercising due dilligence. Team 24, NN, wants to provide 3-4 weeks, whereas GC wants 12 weeks. After some bargaining, GC is offering to pay $100 million upfront, with caveats. Agreed!

10:55: Things aren't all that smooth sailing here. Issues that seemed to have been settled, are now arising again! But, do we see signs of a final deal? $330 million, $100 million upfront, 5% share in profit, 15 directors of GC, 4 of NN and 8 weeks of due dilligence. And DEAL!

Team 11 v. 16

10:18: The negotiations begin on a pleasant note. Representatives from Global Communications Inc. take an aggressive stance, setting clear terms and conditions, as well as expectations from the deal, and highlighting a three-month period for exercise of due diligence. Representatives from NewdoniaNetworks assure them of full cooperation. Negotiations continue on the topics of due diligence and the issue of exclusivity.
 
10:31: Negotiations continue in gravitas mode on all of the technical aspects of the problem. There seems to be a confusion on certain issues which demand clarification from the representatives of GC. The client at GC continues his assertive stance for the negotiating terms and the representatives from NN seem to comply. They agree on a 7 week period of due diligence compliance and the parties seem pleased on the agreement.
 
10:43: Issues of legal troubles of NN are brought on the table by the representatives from GC. GC assure them of full cooperation, but insist on a contractual instrument to be signed before they can discuss their issues with third parties. Parties seem to be pliable on many issues and the negotiations continue smoothly.
 
10:55: Certain important issues of NN signing contracts with a telecommunication major, managerial board are brought upon the table and negotiations proceed amicably. Parties are indeed amicable and their demeanour is commendable on all fronts. NN wants to conclude the negotiations without bringing up the issue of purchase price and fix another meeting, but the Counsel of GC is clever to manage to bring that issue on the table and extract an idea of an estimate of a purchase price.
 
10:58: The judges ask one of the teams to stay for feedback. They grill them specifically on the nature of the pre-contract agreement, and what they mean and expect by the same.
 
For the other team, judges quiz them on the same issue of a pre-contract agreement and ask them to specifically explain the nature of this pre contract. They also enquire about whether they have foreseen any eventualities that might come up, and what the effect of this contract would be. Counsel for GC tries his level best to convince the judges of their modus operandi, but fumbles and even tries to evade a question! He is trapped in a questioning session that has lasted for more than 15 minutes now...
 
Team 1 v. 7
 
10:15: The teams greet each other in a calm, composed manner, both parties looking determined to reach a negotiation. They both agree happily to risk minimisation, though what each party considers a risk is yet to be determined! The Client and Counsel of NewdoniaNetworks advocate the credibility, exponential profits and stellar management of the company, when the Global Communications Inc. representatives question the benefits of the deal. Soft-spoken (literally very, very soft), the representatives of GC put forth their conditions for retaining the management of NN even after the acquisition. Indeed, a nail-biting time for the employees!
 
10.30: The NN representatives try to convince the other party that this is the perfect time to get into the market, but voice concerns about time-constraints. The GC representatives want 6 weeks to close the deal, whereas the other party wants 2-3 weeks. Both parties are not willing to compromise on this, and the term 'due diligence' is used multiple times. The NN representatives are smiling throughout. Hopefully for them, a pleasant face goes a long way!
 
10.40: Things mellow down as the finances are discussed. A difference of $90 million between the two prices agreed on brings out nervous laughter from both sides. A consensus regarding management has been reached, but the issues of share in profit and acquisition price are still on the table. The NN representatives talk about exponential profits, yet seem to hesitate while committing to a pre-decided profit share.
 
The buzzer rings, and judges start giving their feedback. Lots of pluses, less minuses, and the teams are grinning! Supplementing each other and addressing every key issue were appreciated. However, the keenness to impress from both sides was noticed by the judges, and the teams were given advice to tone it down in the future, so as to showcase their own party's importance and reputation.
 
A pleasant round, with pleasant judges, and very helpful advice. And with that, round 1 comes to an end!
 
Team 12 v. 17
 
10:05: Representatives from both the teams introduce themselves and lay out their economic interests. But wait! GC outrightly rejects the rumor about their company's poor financial condition. Is that going to sit well with the team from NewdoniaNetworks?
 
10:20: Surprisingly, NN has agreed to GC's suggestion! It seems like GC is having its own way, because NN's counsel appears to be perplexed by the questions put forth by GC. Both parties indicate that money isn't an issue. Suuure it isn't!
 
10:30: NN agrees that it can't raise capital and GC concedes that they are placed in a similar situation. At least they have agreed on the term of the contract if not the price. GC is quite eager on the price it wants to offer, which doesn't really seem to be working for NN.
 
NN seem to have forgotten that they are negotiating with GC, and not between themselves! It sounds as if they haven't done the homework it sounds!
 
10:40: The parties have agreed to agree on something. Oh well! Both want to finish the dealings in five weeks.
 
Team 21 v. 20
 
10:19: The teams go all out for viable alternatives to deal with Faulty Towers Ltd. and stingy cash flows. Wow! Team 20 has just made a $21 billion offer! More tentative figures are being put on the table. Things are getting interesting here!
 
10:46: Team 21 proposes expanding the number of Board of Directors to 10. Oh, no no, no! This doesn't seem to go very well with Team 20. They propose a 4-8 number for the Board of Directors. Temperatures seem moderate, managed with constant smiles. Seems like an agreement on 3 Directors may be possible from NewdoniaNetworks.
 
Team 2 v. 6
 
10:25: The negotiations take off with opening statements by the representatives from NewdoniaNetworks, where they lay down the agenda for the meeting. They lay emphasis on the need for speed in sealing the deal, while the negotiators for Global Communications Inc. press for an exclusive relationship. Guess both the parties are eager to collaborate!
 
10:35: Things are starting to heat up at this negotiation! The negotiators from GC have been pushing to fulfil their interests, and are trying to establish control over this negotiation. But NN too maintains a firm stance, and forces GC to soften their position by proposing that Ms. Chafer remain CEO.
 
10:55: GC extends an olive branch by offering to pay for the dispute resolution settlement with Faulty Towers Ltd.. The representatives from NN look smug, but are soon forced to eat humble pie when GC makes them remove the contracts with Banana and the Faulty Towers settlement from the valuation.
 
They agree on buying 70%, with a 4 week exclusivity clause, with Ms. Chafer getting a casting vote on the Board. Looks like GC won this one!
 
Team 3 v. 18
 
10:20: NewdoniaNetworks begin by introducing themselves, and in their eagerness, launch straight into their stance on the issue! Global Communications Inc. has to cut in for a chance to introduce themselves. Awkward. The groundwork has been laid and GC wants to know what NN expects from them. NN says that they have had other offers and that they are looking for the best possible option.
 
10:38: GC points out the fact that NN has had an injunction against them and expresses concerns about their share prices, but NN is quick to allay any fears that they may have. GC sheepishly refers to their recent failure in Africa and then lays a proposal before NN for a $200 million sale of share, and an additional $80 million in a joint escrow account. There is a slight disagreement between parties regarding NN's valuation if the Banana Contract is taken out of the picture.
 
10:48: GC points out that NN is the market leader currently, but say they they are apprehensive about the reasons why NN is looking for another company to work with. NN is quick to assure GC that they are parting ways with NE for reasons not related to their performance. GC wants to clarify whether the manager shareholders can be retained after the acquisition. NN says that all manager shareholders are available for atleast 3 years hence. GC says that they intend to form the new team using the best managers of both companies, should the negotiation be fruitful.
 
11:02: NN reiterates that they are a very secure company and say that they are willing to start negotiations at around $390 million. GC clarifies that their budget of $400 million is just market speculation, and then go on to say that they would like to start negotiations at $300 million today and then go forward depending on due diligence.
 
NN is disappointed with $300 million; it is far lower than any of the valuations they have received. GC bring up the possibility of the case dragging out for years, but NN assure them they intend to settle. NN refuse to begin negotiations on $300 million. The session comes to an end with a discussion on Banana's position with NN.
 
Team 13 v. 9
 
10:30: The round seems to be proceeding well. Both parties have been impressive and every strategy has been dealt with smoothly so far. The parties are extremely articulate and well-mannered. They're extensively deliberating on the period of due diligence.
 
10:40: A negotiator must always measure his/her words. Both teams have been impressive in their strategies, following this cardinal rule of negotiation.

Oops! One of the teams has just stumbled on a point.
 
10:50: The round ends as a memorable one for the judges, hopefully one they might relate to colleagues and friends someday.
 
Team 5 v. 22
 
10:10: The rounds began amiably with both the teams greeting each other. Team 5 chose to initiate the negotiation with NewdoniaNetworks following it up with a long (a bit too long, actually!) praise about their company. Not seeming very impressed, the counsel for Global Communications Inc. clearly laid down its agenda on the table. That was quite a strong statement. While they said they looked forward to a "friendly agreement", the expressions on their faces indicated quite the contrary!
 
The counsel for GC seems to have done her homework really well. Straight she mentions, how the share will be 50-50 and that GC wont be paying the entire sum. Every move she makes is leaving NN fumbling!
 
10:20: Woah! What's happening here? NN just admitted to not being prepared sufficiently today and need time to come up with the plan for the management of the company particularly regarding the board of directors. For most of the time, it is GC dictating terms, and NN taking note of the same.
 
10:22: And now, offers are being laid on the table. GC's offer of 35% did not go down very well with NN. The next offer of 45% did not seem acceptable to NN either. The contention seems to be on GC's insistence on retaning its employess in the company. The client on the side of NN expresses her reservations on the same.
 
10:27: Yay! We finally get to hear the GC client's voice! They seem to be arriving at some form of agreement. NN seems to be in a mood to get the agreement at any cost. Most terms of GC have been accepted by NN.
 
Next up is discussion on the choice of CEO of the company. GC's counsel is ready yet again, with a solution - Why not have CEO and COO? Both companies will then have the same share and will be on hierarchically equal. Smart move!
 
10:35: Both the parties seem to be very desperate for an agreement. Offers and counteroffers are being accepted easily! NN expresses its gratitude to GC for coming up with an "amazing" arrangement favourable to both.
 
10:45: We have a demand for arbitration by GC, which goes down well with NN. The teams conveniently decide to postpone offers and compromises on other issues at their next meeting!
 
Both the parties summarise their success on the agreement. And now, let's talk numbers! When it finally comes to deciding the investment amount, NN's offer of $400 million is not acceptable to GC, who refuse to pay over 300 million. It almost feels like haggling with a shopkeeper! 380-320, 340-335..
 
And, there you go! GC has its way, with the parties agreeing on $335 million. That's a wrap, everybody!
 
Team 4 v. 19
 
10:10: The negotiation starts off on a pleasant note with the counsel from GC requesting, at the very outset, for a Confidentiality Clause to be signed. The representatives chalk out a roadmap for subsequent negotiations, underscoring the need for building a long term relationship.
 
The parties are at odds, for quite a bit, as to the Due Diligence period, which after an excellent, eloquent bargaining prowess showcased by the GC counsel, was fixed at a 4 months exclusive period.
 
10:35: With some tenacious haggling by both parties, the acquisition price is narrowed down, with GC paying $250 million in the current year and $80 million in the next year, but NN settling with Faulty Towers Ltd. in the near future being a condition precedent to this deal.
 
10:50: Both sides mutually agree on further negotiations with Robert Sykes as an assurance of NN continuing their association with Banana, and with that the round comes to an amicable end.
 
Team 14 v. 10

10:10: The negotiation is off to a good start with both parties warmly greeting each other. The representative of NN fumbles, but manages to recover smoothly from the faux pas.

10:20: The representatives of GC emphasise on the importance of proper due diligence. They are determined to avoid a repeat of what happened with AfroPhone. Once bitten, twice shy!

10:25: The pending lawsuit filed by Faulty Towers seems to be the main obstacle to the success of the deal. The representatives of NN clarify that the only reason that they haven't paid FT is because their services are, as their name suggests, faulty! They are open to an out of court settlement and suggest opening an escrow account that both parties could contribute to.

10:30: In an unexpected twist, the budget stated by the representatives of GC is lower than the rumoured $400 million. The representatives of NN handle this news surprisingly well.

10:40: The representatives of GC emphasise that this an acquisition and not a merger. They are keen to have control over the board but NN would like to retain its original board members. Both parties arrive at a compromise and NN gets to keep its own managers, but GC will have veto power.

10:50: The representatives of NN want their market worth but GC does not have that much money on hand. However, they express the possibility of more funds being made available in the coming months. The negotiation ends on a positive note with both parties having fleshed out their respective issues and agreeing to meet for a subsequent session.

11:00: The judges grill the teams about the structure of the deal. They also point out that based on the team's performance, it was impossible to determine who was the client and who was the counsel.

PRELIMINARY ROUND 2: CHECKMATE

Team 4 v. 18

13:30: Negotiations begin on a pleasant note, with the teams introducing themselves. Team 4, representing the Hampshire Fighting Cubs, assure Donatella National Corporation of the quality of their enterprise.

13:40:  The name of Amy arises in the discussion, but gets lost amidst the debate. Team 4 proposes Jerry, and both team agree to negotiate the purchase. Team 4 proposes 65 million for the purchase, while Team 18 asks for the loss to be compensated for 2 years from his induction in team. 

14:18: The parties talk about the merits and demerits of each player and are attracted to Joseph. Thereafter, teams talk about investment on the players. Both parties agree that Amy will be a good investment, and agree to invest on her. We have consensus, ladies and gentleman!

Team 3 v. 19

13:39: Both parties very quickly lay down their positions and decide that the first step would be to decide which players need to be bought. However, Donatella National Corporation quickly asks what amount the Hampshire Fighting Cubs are willing to spend without their backing, and HFC reply is that $60 million is the money at their disposal. The discussion moves on to the pros and cons of having Amy Forager as the chief defensive player, but DNC are of the opinion that despite the fact that she is an excellent player and her price is justified, she is too expensive. The Cubs seem very keen to have her though and offer a 10% interest rate and 50% of the sponsorship costs.

14:00: With Amy coming off as too costly, DNC asks for a veto clause regarding Amy's future transfers. The Cubs are hesitant to hand the veto, and the discussion moves onto Barry Giamatti. The Cubs say that  because of this controversies, the sponsors are going to be hesitant in putting in their money on him. The Cubs suggest Joseph Barlett but DNC mention his health issues. After a sudden turn, the conversation moves to combinations of players. Jerry Lemon is now in consideration, but the combination of Amy and Jerry proves to be beyond the budget that DNC is willing to spend. That's an interesitng turn of events!
 
14:13: The Cubs reiterate their earlier offer for Amy and say that they will use their remaining 20 million as seed money for Jerry, while offering a 7% interest rate and 30% of the sponsorship costs. DNC is not very happy with that offer and ask if The Cubs are willing to go to 50%. The discussion winds down to two points  - the veto clause and pulling in another investor. The Cubs then ask if getting a few members of DNC on their board would help. A safe exit clause is also in the pipeline. The Cubs are dead set on the veto clause and instead offer 50% representation on the board. DNC say they might be able to get an additional 5 million. The two parties decide on Amy and Jerry, it is not a fixed deal, but both parties decide that they would take back these suggestions to their managers.

Team 9 v. 12

13:30: Greetings exchanged, and we're off a to a pleasant start. The Hampshire Fighting Cubs deliver an opening statement on what they want quite confidently, and cite reasons why they should be funded. Donatella National Corporation, on the other hand, wants to develop a long-term understanding and a mutual beneficial relationship. The teams have already agreed on the combination one attacker and one defender.

14:00: DNC admits somewhat candidly that Jerry Lemon is priority for them. But Hampshire seems far more interested in a strong defensive player! DMC's strategy is to look for a long term relationship, starting with the Cubs winning the league next year. Offers are now being thrown around!

14:10: DNC are looking to protect their interest, and want to choose at least a player. DMC wants a formal consultation process, backed by an arbitration process. 

Team 10 v. 15

13:40: This is going to be an interesting negotiation, ladies and gentlemen. The teams have taken the simulations very seriously, with the Hampshire Fighting Cubs just being gifted a cup wrapped in paper, meant to signify the "changed face" of the team. The teams have a little laugh, and then discuss each of their negotiation formats, both conscious of being accommodative of the other's interests. Team 15 does not seem to be very keen on buying Joseph Barlett. Not a problem, 4 more players to go! And we have our first agreement in this negotiation session! One attacking, and one defending, player.

14:00: Team 15 has made it their agenda to go and purchase Jeremy, even going down on their interest rate. Parties enter a heated discussion, with a contingent agreement being made. The contingency being the Defence Player - the interest area of Team 10. Barry Giamatti is now on the agenda of Team 15, clearly indicated by its readiness to substantially reduce their interest rate. Team 10, however, seems to be holding on to its reservations fearing that Barry may not easily mix with the rest of the team. Team 15's interest in Barry is clearly visible when they are also willing to give away their "veto" power for him. This is turning out to be an interesting one! 
 
14:05: As opposed to Team 15, Team 10 seems to be more interested in Amy. But then Team 15 is too upfront in its opposition to Amy. Out of 100 million , they are willing to contribute only 30 million regardless of the incentives Team 10 may offer. No negotiation there! With Amy and Len out of picture, both parties agree on Barry and Jeremy. Team 15 managed to have its way in the case of both the players. Last 5 minutes and the parties discusses other legal intricacies of the contract. We come to end with this! 
 
Team 2 v. 14
 
13:45: Team 14, representing Donatella National Corporation, kicks off the negotiations by laying down an agenda. Both parties quickly reach an agreement on the need for one defender and one attacker. This turns out to be the calm before the storm, as Holdco expresses a keen interest in certain players, which is dismissed by DNC for a lack of economic feasibility.
 
13:55: The negotiators debate possible options, and settle for Amy and Len as their picks. Holdco puts forth an interesting offer -- DNC only pays for Amy, but Holco retains any transfer fees that they may have to pay later. DNC holds its own end and emphasis on the need to share risks. The negotiation room is now heating up! 
 
14:10: The negotiators agree to add Jerry and Barry to the team, but DNC adds a caveat -- DNC gets a veto on transferring Jerry to other clubs. The negotiators seem to reach an impasse as time runs out and both sides remain reluctant to relax their positions.

Team 24 v. 16

14:00: Both teams are considering Lemon, for 40 million, as an attacking option. DNC has now asked for a veto clause which the Cubs seem quite uncomfortable with. They find it unreaosnable in the light of DNC asking for 10% interest on Capital and 50% economic interst! 
 
14:15: DNC proposes the name of Amy but realised that they cannot afford her! They then proposes the name of Len, but HFC isn't even ready to consider him. This negotiation ends with only one deal being confirmed, and the parties looking forward to another session.
 
Team 1 v. 11
 
13:50: The representatives converse in a formal, practical manner, keen to present their conditions, yet reach a meeting point. It is agreed upon enthusiastically that economic benefit follows proficiency of a sportsperson, showing that the approach of both Hampshire and DNC representatives are in sync. One stepping stone at a time guys, you can do this! When possible transfers of players on the table is brought up, the DNC representatives state that they want to finance only committed players, and thus would like restrict any future transfer. Both sides clearly know their chess, know their players, and feel strongly about the Hampshire team. Go Cubs!
 
14:05: A 45% share in future profits is demanded by DNC and in return they will fund 40% of the cost of the players. A lot of clarifications ensue from both parties, as percentages, averages, millions are thrown around. Math class again, eh? Disagreements on stake in future transfers and current contribution result in interruptions and slight impatience is seen on all the representatives' faces. 
 
14.15: The favoured players seem to be Amy and Jerry, but contingencies like stake in future championships and future transfer fees stall the negotiation, proving to be hindrances that both parties cannot overcome together. The buzzer goes off! Unable to reach an agreement, the judges decide to extend the negotiation time by 10 minutes. Looking at the clock, both sides seem in a bit of a rush, pressed for time to reach a 'concrete conclusion'. 6 minutes into extra time, they shake hands yet again, ending the negotiation politely, and reaching a consensus on few of the issues.
 
Team 22 v. 13
 
13:40: The round kicks off to an amiable start with the Hampshire representatives signalling their desire to strengthen itself by buying one defensive and one attacking player for sure from a pool of three players, which both sides find agreeable.  
 
13:55: At the very outset, DNC proposes to insert a veto clause in the transfer agreement of Jerry Lemon, an attacking player that Hampshire wishes to buy. This proposal is hotly challenged by the representatives from Hampshire and further gives way to quite an amusing debate! Despite the tenacious and assertive DNC representatives, the veto clause has to go, owing to the gritty resolve of the Hampshire representatives. 
 
14:20: UH-OH! Time's up with only Jerry Lemon being bought and another session is proposed to buy the remaining players. As the counsel from DNC quite nicely put it, "Let's not negotiate in a hurry". Overall, a very fascinating round,  which had the judges at the edges of their seats by the very end.
 
Team 6 v. 20
 
13:37: Negotiations begin on a formal note with the representatives from DNC setting the tone of the negotiations. They proclaim that the purchase of players should only be made in combinations. Representatives from HFC then put forth the nature of the transaction.
 
13:45: Negotiations continue with the issue of conditional veto on a certain specific player coming up, and contingencies that might arise due to the exercise of that power. Negotiations on a player are in their conclusive stage with interest rates being deliberated upon. 
 
14:01: Issues of future transfer and transaction are being brought upon. Deliberations conclude with the second player being picked! Teams now discuss the economic interest, sponsorship interests, and future interest.
 
Team 5 v. 21
 

13:35: The negotiations are off to a polite but rather stiff start. Both parties get straight down to business and discuss the attack-defence combination they would like to recruit. Within the first ten minutes, the representatives of Hampshire Cubs and DNC agree on Jerry Lemon and Amy Forager, a very expensive combination costing a whooping $165 million!

13:45: Sharing of the financial burden between the Hampshire Cubs and DNC becomes the primary bone of contention. As the DNC representative candidly remarks, " the issue is always money." Unable to arrive at a mutually agreeable solution, the parties are forced to let go of Amy Forager and decide to explore less expensive defence options.

13:55: The DNC representatives are aggressively pushing for Barry because they are unwilling to place their bets on a high risk injury prone player like Joseph. However, owing to their past history with Barry, the Hampshire Cubs are reluctant to accept this suggestion. Having reached another stalemate, the parties decide to shift their focus to Jerry.

14:05: The Hampshire Cubs change their original offer of $14 million to $15 million at the behest of the DNC representatives who would prefer to work with a round figure! So much for math love. DNC is keen to have veto power with respect to any future transfer and they shrewdly use concessional rates of interest as a bargaining chip. Initially the Hampshire Cubs are reluctant to compromise on their autonomy but after a surprising U turn, they finally agree to grant DNC the coveted veto.

14:15: With time running out, the parties turn their attention to defence. Ultimately, DNC convinces the Hampshire Cubs to recruit Barry but at a substantially reduced interest rate. Utilising the extra five minutes granted by judges, the teams wrap up the negotiation and resolve all residual issues with lightning speed. 

Team 7 v. 17

13:42: Team Hampshire make it very clear from the beginning that they would want a loan of 135 million! Now the ball in is DNC's court, who ask about players options. Hampshire want Joseph Bartlett and are very clear about not having Barry on the team because of his past behavior. 

14:07: It seems that the negotiations have gotten over without actually negotiating anything! The meeting ends with an exchange of cards, and a decision to hold another negotiation. 

 

And with this we come to the end of two very interesting Preliminary Rounds. The teams thoroughly enjoyed themselves in the process, and received great feedback from the Judges! We now prepare to leave for our formal event at Lodi - The Garden Retaurant  where the names of the teams breaking into the Semi-Finals will be announced. Stay tuned for the update here! 

And ladies and gentleman, we have the breaks here for you! The teams progressing to the Semi-Finals of the comeptition are (in alphabetical order): 

  1. Cambridge University
  2. Deakin University
  3. King's College, London
  4. Oxford University

As the teams head off to prepare thir negotiation plans for the Semi-Finals and the Finals, we end for the day and are ready to put our feet up in our wonderful formal event at The Lodi. See you tomorrow! 

13 SEPTEMBER 2015: SEMI-FINALS & FINALS

SEMI-FINAL ROUNDS: OFF THE RAIL

Semi-Final 1 - University of Cambridge v. University of Oxford

11:00: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen! We're all set to start our semi-final rounds here this morning, after a pleasant evening at The Lodi. Our first semi-final promises to be an exciting one, as it brings with it a rivalry that is centuries old. The two oldest universities of England, the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge, will be fighting it out for a spot in the finals! Place your bets, because this is going to an interesting round!

11:10: The negotiations kicked off with an exchange of greetings between the parties. Both the parties try to set stage for the upcoming negotiations, expressing their gratitude towards each other for meeting on the table. Cambridge are well-prepared with a layout for the negotiation session, identifying their priorities and the agenda for discussion. 
  
11:15: Blame Game on! The University of Oxford seems in no mood to spare their arch nemesis for their negligence in using sub standard material. What's even more interesting is the reply from Cambridge! "You breach a contract, we breach a contract. Fair enough." Tit for tat? We're not sure that's a great strategy!
 
The counsel from Cambridge has managed to save losing the plot entirely by arguing that the LDC clause in question is unenforceable in the country The contention seems to be that damages can only be claimed for reasonable amounts - and certainly 27.5 million pounds is not a reasonable sum!
 
Citing the LDC clause as a "miscommunication", the counsel from Oxford is trying to stave off the blame by offering to reduce the penalty to 20 million pounds.
 
11:25: The client for Cambridge seems very interested in the calculations that went into reaching the figure of 20 million pounds as put forth by the opposing party. He seems firm when he says that nothing more than 10 million pound is reasonable according to the calculations by his counsel. However, the counsel for Oxford clarifies that they were seeking not the losses protected, but the losses actually incurred by them. 
 
11:30: Both parties seem to have arrived at some form of an agreement. They have agreed over the fact that both of them were at fault, and need to arrive at a middle ground in the calculations of losses. With only about half of the negotiation time left, it does not seem like the teams have progressed much. 
 
Now here's the interesting part - the teams are discussing the actual calculation of losses. The counsel from Cambridge did a great job by clarifying the position of both the parties, at least for counsel from Oxford who seemed too flummoxed by the numbers! Cambridge seem to be getting their way here!
 
Did we say Cambridge are getting their way? Scratch that! While Cambridge have solid arrangements in place in terms of sharing of losses, Oxford aren't revealing any figures just yet, waiting to extract the best offer from their rivals before putting their own figures on the table. 
 
11:42: Cambridge rightly points out that the members of Oxford's team are quite in disagreement with each other! They seem to be countering each other's points on contributory negligence! What's happening here?! Oxford decide to brush the issue aside and move on to another topic - something which both the parties can settle "amicably". Both parties on the table, or both parties on the Oxford team? We'll never know!
 
11:50: The bargaining is on for sharing the losses. In light of Cambridge's brilliant number game, which caught the counsel for Oxford quite off her guard, and sensing their deteriorating situation, Oxford agrees to reduce the penalty amount to 15 million pounds. Still not acceptable to Cambridge - and why should it be, they seem to have the upper hand here!
 
11:55: Seeing the unwary route the negotiation is taking, with no agreement on sharing of losses anywhere in sight, Cambridge proposed changing the topic to referring the dispute to arbitration.
 
Would you look at that! One of England's best universities for law, Cambridge, say that it is, in fact, it is logic over the law for them! Questioning Oxford's repeated claim of having "deep pockets", and yet not being ready to clear its debts, Cambridge are certainly firm on getting their way today. They propose the percentage of contributory negligence of both the parties at 45%-65%.
 
We're in the last 5 minutes of the negotiation session and the teams don't seem to be close to a consensus at all. That's what happens when you put Oxford and Cambridge in one room! It's getting quite tense here, with the teams trying to come up with some form of agreement without conceding too much.
 
The session ends with the teams agreeing that negotiation is not a good option for them, and that arbitration would be better suited to their stances. They have agreed to disagree, then!
 
12:10: The judges have granted the teams two extra minutes, sensing the eagerness to reach a satisfactory conclusion. While Cambridge is keen on referring the issue to arbitration, this does not seem to go down well with the Oxford team, who are insisting on settling the issue here. A little too late in the day for that, it would seem, Oxford!
 
12:12: One thing seems to be crystal clear at the end of this round - that these two teams just cannot seem to agree on anything!  The negotations end with the parties scheduling another round of negotiation within the next couple of days, and otherwise opting for litigation.
 
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Above: Teams from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge during their negotiation session
 
Semi-Final 2 - Deakin University v. King's College London

11:00: Our second semi-final is truly international - we have here with us today one of London's finest colleges up against Deakin University from Australia. An English-Australian negotiation round in Delhi!

11:23: The negotiation is off to a good start. King's College London (representing Bang) put forward the legal implications of the notice that they sent to Deakin University (representing KRDC). The first issue up for consideration is that of withholding money, but Bang wants to make sure that confidentiality will be maintained. KRDC is quick to point out that this would be more beneficial for Bang than it is for them, and makes it clear that while they're willing to discuss the issue. KRDC asks a tricky question as to why Bang is so adamant on confidentiality, especially when they weren't earlier. Both parties agree to put that issue aside and move on. KRDC now want to look at the degree of fault on either side. 
 
11:34: Both parties are pointing fingers at each other and it looks like this round is fast turning into a blame game as well! The pressure eases, and the parties agree that there needs to be some give and take. (Duh!) The late penalty clause is up for discussion.
 
KRDC say there was still a 10km stretch that Bang could have worked on despite the flood, and even pull out a map of the flooded area to prove their point! Looks like they've done their homework! KRDC has a lot of trick questions up their sleeve - they now want to know how the 45 million given was used if no work was happening on the 10km stretch, and Bang evade the question, setting it aside for later. 
 
11:41: KRDC say they want to maintain good relations with Bang. Really, now? They even reveal that they have been given approval for another project, and Bang expresses interest in working with them on that, although the teams don't mention any concrete details.
 
At this point, the discussion takes another turn and KRDC say the flood was more Bang's fault than theirs. They say that building the flood defenses was something within Bang's control. Both parties are now looking for a commercially viable, mutually agreeable solution. 
 
11:53: The discussion has moved back to the penalty clause. KRDC say that they have made a genuine valuation of the losses they will face if the delay continues, and ask if Bang has a problem with the estimate given. Bang feels the figure is a little too high and while they do want to maintain good relations with KRDC, they feel the figure is not entirely fair. Bang says that they will look at the figure given and KRDC says that though the figures are genuine, they are willing to go a little lower and Bang provisionally accepts that. 
 
12:03: KRDC puts their proposal on the table - in return for granting their new project to Bang, Bang must bear the loss that has occurred. KRDC feels it will be a mutually beneficial agreement. Bang is willing to negotiate on that, but feel that 7 million pounds is too high a figure. KRDC then says that they will put in 2 million pounds as a goodwill gesture to show that the flood was not entirely Bang's fault. The questions that still need to be discussed are the amount of money that will be withheld, and the privacy issue. While Bang wants to discuss the confidentiality issue again, KRDC feels they should just work that into the discussion on finances.
 
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 Above: Teams from King's College, London and Deakin University during their negotiation session
 
 
After a extremely tense lunch, the resulys for the Semi-FInal Rounds are now out! And the teams progressing to the Final Round are Cambridge University and Deakin Univeristy. We congratulate the both of them, and look forward to an exiting Final Round!
 

 

FINAL ROUND: ON THE BALL

University of Cambridge v. Deakin University
 
15:03: The judges are just settling in, and we're ready for an Ashes final! On the bench today we have HMJ V. Gopala Gowda, Judge, Supreme Court of India, Mr. Mark Bardell, Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills, and Ms. Neena Gupta, Group General Counsel, InterGlobe Enterprises
 
We have the University of Cambridge from England up against Deakin University from Australia in the final chapter of the 2nd edition of the competition, On the Ball.
 
15:16: The negotiating parties are the University of Cambridge (representing QAMA) and Deakin University (representing Shenley).
 
The negotiation starts off with the two parties professionally identifying the issues coherently so as to go about tackling them. The representatives of Holdco state a desired mutually beneficial solution, to which the Qatar Asset Management Authority (QAMA) representatives nod their heads emphatically. The QAMA representatives bring up 6 issues that they would like to attend to, the first of which is the price. Other issues include the amount of money they would like to invest to see Shenley Athletic FC reach its potential, the concept of rebranding, signing in more players, expansion of Shenley into playing in different leagues, and sponsorship dues.
 
15:19: The QAMA representatives question the nature of the SPV that both parties are to jointly set up, as well as the stake of both parties in the share of the new venture. This party specifically narrows the issue down to questioning a change in attitude of Holdco relating to the 50-50 stake in the PSV, as compared to when the MOU was signed. Both parties seem extremely determined to put across their points in a systematic manner, always listing them clearly, and so showing concrete understanding of the direction that the negotiation should take. Kudos guys, order is the key to avoiding chaos!
 
15:26: The QAMA representative asks to clarify if different stakes in the company would exact the equal contribution from both parties. The Shenley representative answers by saying that their interests should align, and hopes to resolve these issues through negotiation. Well, clearly these parties seem confident enough that they will reach a meeting point. Bon chance!
 
15:30: The Holdco representative asks about future plans regarding expansion into different leagues, to which the QAMA representative says that participation of Shenley players in the Dubai Super League is extremely desired and that inclusion of players in leagues should be transnational. If all goes well, sport does seem to benefit immensely from this deal. Fingers crossed, four leafed clover, whatever your cup of tea, luck is no determinant here. Looks like the future of a very promising club is in good hands! Maybe... or maybe not? Just wait it out, guys.
 
15:35: The Holdco representatives consider naming a Squad B, 'Shenley Force', which would participate in the Dubai Super League, to which the QAMA representatives propose a change of name based on popularity a few years down the line. Down to the nitty-gritties now! 
 
The Holdco representatives stress on the absolute need for 'Shenley' to be retained in the name of the team, no matter any change in the future. 
 
The QAMA representatives bring up sponsorship of Qatar Airlines, which would entail players spending 10 hours a week in community building in the middle east. Qatar Airlines would have some rights over naming of Squad B in the middle east, and rights over revision of the sponsorship deal in the future.
 
15:43: The QAMA representative states factually that any sponsor would rather take up a more famous team, that is Squad A as against Squad B as of now. He understands that some Squad A players may not be available due to prior commitments or injuries, but his party would like at least some Squad A players who may not be as busy, not the top-most players, or even slightly injured players, to come to the middle east. 
 
"I don't understand why this is so hard", the QAMA representative questions the other party. It's quite evident that Holdco doesn't want to let go of their current team! Scattering of our current team? No, not happening. Non, nada, nahin!
 
15:50: A consideration of 30 million pounds to the shareholders of Holdco from QAMA raises a few eyebrows around the room. Then a question from the Holdco representative if Qatar wants exclusivity of sponsorship throws the QAMA representatives off, resulting in startled expressions and a moment of whispering. Ahh, you can never know what the other party is going to throw your way, can you?  
 
15:55:The Holdco representatives say that the team isn't just about earnings of the players, but also about the image, and thus commercial aspects such as the naming of the stadium is really important. Meanwhile the QAMA representative scratches his notepad urgently pointing out an issue to his partner that needs to be discussed before time is up. Time is important, guys, precious! Preciousssss. Get the reference? Never mind, let's not digress. 
 
16:00: The QAMA representative argues that the concerns on the table remain the same as when the MOU was signed, and thus the back tracking and hesitancy on Holdco's behalf is unjustified. The QAMA representatives concretely state their conditions, while the Holdco representatives seem defensive about their hesitancy, which has only been vaguely explained, especially in the light of the detailed MOU signed previously.
 
The buzzer goes off! Ooooooooh, no meeting point yet. So what? Remember, just as the journey is as important as the destination,it is the process that is important, not just the conclusion. Deep words.... Rumi, Rousseau, Random-philosopher, watch out. 
 
16:10: The QAMA representative wishes to discuss the price-offer to include a player, while Holdco representatives express the opposite, wishing for exclusion of the said player from Squad A citing immediate consequences if he were included. The Holdco representatives don't mind putting him in Squad B, prompting the QAMA representative to question the other party's assent to Squad B.
 
Price, equal contribution to SPV, signing with Qatar Airlines are issues that have been agreed on. 
 
With this, the parties politely thank each other, bringing the negotiation to an end. Now, the Judges will question both the teams individually on the stratergy adopted by them during the course of the negotiation. 
 
16:17: Mr. Bardell asks the QAMA representatives what their initial objectives were, and whether they were achieved, to which one representative responds that many objectives were bound to overlap, so there was no concern, initially, of issues not being broached at all.
 
The other representative  states that Holdco being agreeable 'in spirit' to the investment in Shenley, QAMA agreeing to retaining of the name 'Shenley' for the teams, and the agreement to creating a Squad B in the middle east known as Shenley Force counted as progress. He goes on to say that they did not agree to Holdco's stubborn stand to put a player (Pierre Lémon, Pea Lemon, Pear Limon, proper noun guys, confusion here apologies!) in Squad B specifically.
 
16:28: The QAMA representative, in his elaboration (really elaborate!) of how the negotiation went, says that just changing a stadium's name wouldn't turn away fans, and therefore the Holdco representatives did digress a lot. The most important issue of price that this party wished to decide upon today wasn't discussed enough, and sponsorship was given too much time.
They continue to state their dissatisfaction at the unwillingness of the other party to engage on certain important issues, basically price, as the Holdco representatives avoided it, wishing to focus on other issues. 
 
Didn't see eye to eye, right guys? Talking to each other, yet not actually communicating effectively.  It is indeed hard, welcome to the finals guys.
 
16:37: Ms. Gupta questions the impact of having separate brand names, Shenley Athletics FC in the UK and Shenley Force in the middle east, on the fan base. The QAMA representative responds saying that this is quite a common phenomenon in sport, and thus should not affect popularity or fan following. In response to a question regarding financing, the other representative emphasis on the importance of not undermining their investment in Shenley; that is if liquidity is lacking, dilution of shares is the other alternative. The judge responds by saying that dilution is not the optimum solution, and that she didn't see any concrete resolution arise regarding the parties' stakes in the SPV. 
 
With this, the QAMA representatives leave the room, making way for the Holdco Representatives to be questioned by the judges. Get your game face on guys! Paaoooww! 
 
16:48: Mr. Bardell asks for the Holdco representatives' views on the fact that the other party had more command over steering the negotiation and tackling the issues on the agenda, to which the representatives agreed and said they tried to focus on preserving the cultural roots of Shenley in the UK, even while broaching expansion.
 
He further questions if they were concerned about the risk of QAMA walking away from the deal in the end and approaching another high-profile team. The representatives respond that the probability of finalising the deal at some point seemed to increase as the negotiation progressed, as Shenley seemed to be the most viable option and best prospectively for QAMA. 
 
Ms. Neena Gupta asks which party seemed more eager or desperate for confirmation of the deal. The representatives answer that definitely QAMA seemed more desperate - the way they presented their conditions and conducted themselves, while Holdco held themselves back a little knowing they had other options, not necessarily a Plan B. 
 
AWARDS & VALEDICTORY CEREMONY
 
18:00: The valedictory ceremony starts off with the acknowledgment of the dignitaries present, namely, Prof. (Dr.) Ranbir Singh, Vice Chancellor, NLU Delhi; Prof. (Dr.) G. S. Bajpai, Registrar, NLU Delhi; and the three judges of the final round - HMJ V. Gopala Gowd, Mr. Mark Bardella and Ms. Neena Gupta.
 
The Organising Committee plays a video recapitulating the past three days of the competition, with clippings from the rounds and the participants discussing their views on the competition. 
 
18:15: Mr. Bardell heartily thanks the Organising Committee, the volunteers, the judges and the administration at NLU Delhi. He quickly signs off, thanking the participants as well, saying that the results are what everyone is waiting for. Agreeing nods everywhere!
 
Justice Gowda says that it was a unique experience, and congratulates everyone for the extremely well-organised competition. He further says that it is very new to him, after being a judge for the past 18 years, and looks forward to witnessing such events again. 
 
Next, the participation certificates are given away by Prof. (Dr.) Ranbir Singh, and smartly dressed smiling participants go and receive there certificates.
 
Semi-finalists, King's College, London and Oxford University, London, are given their certificates by Mr. Mark Bardell.
 
The award for the Best Negotiatior goes to Senjuti Mallick from ILS, Pune. She wins a cash prize of INR 20,000 (~200 GBP). 
 
The award for the Best Negotiation Plan goes to University of New South Wales, Sidney. They also receive a cash prize of INR 20,000 (~200 GBP).
 
Lastly the Runners-Up are announced as Deakin University! We all know what this means! The winners of the NLU Delhi-HSF International Negotiation Competition are the University Cambridge, London 
 
Congratulations to the winners, with a cash prize of INR 1,00,000 (~1000 GBP), they sure are grinning widely! And that trophy does a beautiful job of reflecting that grin! 
 
The Runner Up too go home with a cash prize of INR 50,000 (~500 GBP). They sure look determined to win it next year!
 
Prof. Daniel Mathew, the Faculty Advisor for the competition, gives the final address, thanking the faculty, the judges, the volunteers, the organising committee, and finally and most importantly, the participants who have made the event what is is. 
 
Guys, this is the last post, Au Revoir! See you next year, same place, different problems, same energy, different solutions!
 
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