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Tatas pull out of JV with Sasken

Last updated on: January 16, 2009 10:20 IST

It's not just the Chapter 11 filing of bankruptcy by Nortel Networks which has come as a big blow for Sasken Communication Technologies. The Bangalore-headquartered company has already received a big jolt as the joint venture it had formed with the Tata Group almost two years back has been called off last week.

According to high level sources close to the development, the JV TACO Sasken Automotive Electronics has been called off and over 100 people working for the JV have been asked to quit.

In January 2007, Sasken and Tata AutoComp Systems, a Tata Group company, had formed the JV with a focus on automotive electronics products in the areas of telematics, infotainment and occupant convenience. However sources say that even two years after its formation, the JV could hardly make any progress.

On being asked, Sasken CFO Neeta Revankar said the company won't like to give any comment since they are in a silent period. "Other than Nortel, I won't comment on anything," she said.

As per the information provided, Sasken had informed that TACO would always hold at least one more share than Sasken, even though as of March 31, 2007, Sasken and TACO each had held 50 per cent of the equity in TSAE. A spokesperson for TACO said they do not comment on speculative news. Other than TSAE, Sasken has also formed another JV with venture capital IDG Ventures India in the area of machine to machine solutions.

According to high level sources, the JV ConnectM is yet to make substantial progress. Its CEO Kumar Prabhas left the company sometime back. The JV was formed with a joint investment of $6 million by Sasken and IDG Ventures India in June 2007.

Other than Sasken, TACO also has 14 joint ventures in partnership with various auto component firms across the world. The Pune-headquartered company provides service to many Indian and global automotive majors including Ashok Leyland, DaimlerChrysler, Fiat, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, M&M, Piaggio, Tata Motors and Toyota.

In the recent past, Sasken -- which provides telecom software solutions to global telecom OEMs -- has seen many top level exits, including their former president and COO Kannankote Srikanth, senior VP-HR Hari Iyer and chief marketing officer Swaminathan Krishnan.
Raghuvir Badrinath and Bibhu Ranjan Mishra in Bangalore
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