Once a prized asset, is oil giant ONGC nearing the end of the road?

At the risk of sounding preposterous, would it have been a better shot to let HPCL buy ONGC instead? The enterprise value of the acquirer, at Rs 98,904 crore, is just a third more than of the acquired, as on March 2020. ONGC was valued nearly four times more than HPCL in February 2018, when it paid out Rs 36,915 crore for the deal to the government of India.  At least ONGC would not have been saddled with the Rs 35,000 crore debt it took from seven banks, servicing which has cleaned up its cash reserves. This is not a story of ONGC versus its own subsidiary. But these comparisons in.....

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