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Satyam gets Sebi nod to sell 51%; suitors seek details
March 06, 2009 09:55 IST
Last Updated: March 06, 2009 19:35 IST
Satyam Computer Services, currently under probe for one of the biggest corporate frauds in India, on Friday received Sebi nod to sell 51 per cent stake in the company through a strategic partner and will initiate bidding process shortly.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India has approved an international bidding process that will allow a strategic investor to acquire up to 51 per cent stake in the company.
Expression of Interest from investors would be invited shortly, said a company statement on Friday.
Satyam [Get Quote] shares surged 18 per cent to Rs 42.10 on Sebi nod. "The bidding process will begin shortly," Satyam's government-appointed director Deepak Parekh said in New Delhi.
The Sebi nod propped up the company's shares but possible suitors want more information to take a call, with Tech Mahindra [Get Quote], Hinduja, and L&T seeking more details on the process and valuation prior to making a move on bidding.
Spice group said it is ready to bid but wants 51 per cent stake and immediate management control.
The strategic sale would involve two processes -- first, the selected investor would be issued fresh equity of 31 per cent stake, and then a mandatory open offer of 20 per cent of the company's share capital would have to be made, which would be made at the same share price as the price paid by the investor for the subscription.
Hinduja group chief financial officer Prabal Banerjee said the company can take a decision on bidding only after getting some more information.
However, AV Birla group chief Kumar Mangalam Birla, who met Corporate Affairs Minister Prem Chand Gupta on Friday, said his company is not interested in bidding for Satyam.
Among other norms for bidding include that qualified investors should have net assets in excess of $150 million, and that the investor will not be allowed to sell any equity share acquired for a period of three years from the date of acquisition.
The government-inducted board of Satyam is pushing for the sale of the company, as it faces potential client loss. On January 7, its former chairman B Ramalinga Raju confessed to have inflated accounts of the company for over seven years, leading to a fraud of Rs 7,800 crore (Rs 78 billion). This landed the company into disgrace and uncertainty.
If post closing of the open offer, the investor fails to acquire 51 per cent through subscription and open offer, the investor would have the right to subscribe to additional fresh equity shares, enabling the investor to acquire 51 per cent stake in the company.
Larsen and Toubro, the largest single shareholder in Satyam Computer, said it would wait for the details of the bidding process and financial figures before taking any decision on bidding.
"The Satyam statement is elementary. We will have to study the documents and then decide what to do next. We have to know how they (Satyam) are going to evaluate the company," L&T chairman A M Naik said. L&T holds 12 per cent stake in the company.
Spice Corp chairman B K Modi said, "We are ready to bid for Satyam. We want 51 per cent stake and immediate management control."
He said not more than 5 per cent of the stake could be mopped up from open offers and Sebi has done the right thing by allowing fresh equity shares to the investor, thus taking the stake to 51 per cent.
Another interested company, Tech Mahindra, also said it needs more information from Satyam to take a call on bidding.