The seven-year itch
This refers to your news story titled “Wal-Mart, Bharti call off JV” (FE, October 10). The marriage, break-up and divorce story of Bharti and Walmart makes an excellent case study for discussions in retail management courses of business schools in India. Walmart said it plans to continue to grow its “business while working with the government and interested stakeholders to create conditions that enable foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail.” Its Asia president and CEO Scott Price said, “Given the circumstances, our decision to operate independently will be beneficial to both parties.” Here it must be noted that franchises and joint ventures often fail after their initial honeymoon period, due to various reasons. Several books and extensive articles have been written on this particular issue. There is a popular term called “the seven year itch”, which suggests that happiness in a relationship declines after around seven years of relationship. In the instant case, the itch seems to have started in six years (the joint venture came into effect in 2007 and has ended in 2013). Let’s hope other companies, MNCs and JV partners will learn some useful lessons from this venture that began with a lot of fanfare but sadly ended in a fiasco.