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Satyam board meets on takeover pricing guides

business Updated: Feb 26, 2009 11:03 IST

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Satyam Computer Services' board began a meeting on Thursday that is expected to set pricing guidelines for a preferential share issue to a strategic investor in the outsourcer at the centre of India's biggest corporate fraud.

Analysts say potential bidders for Satyam are attracted by its marquee clients, business model and a trained workforce, but putting a price for the company could be difficult in the absence of audited accounts and clarity about its liabilities.

"They could take a potential leap of faith in Bangalore," said Sachin Jain, Jefferies & Co's equity research analyst. "Apart from their inability to do a due diligence regarding the financials, there are couple of other issues like lawsuits from investors."

New York-listed Satyam has been struggling for survival since January 7, when its founder and chairman Ramalinga Raju quit after disclosing profits had been overstated for years and assets falsified.

Chairman Kiran Karnik told Reuters on Tuesday that Satyam, which specialises in business software, hoped to invite expressions of interest from potential bidders by the end of the week.

The Economic Times newspaper said on Thursday the board was likely to insist on experience in the information technology sector and minimum net worth for potential bidders, quoting a person familiar with the situation.

A spokeswoman for Satyam said the company would issue a statement after the board meeting, which is likely to end in the afternoon.

Potential suitors for Satyam include India's top engineering and construction firm Larsen & Toubro, Hinduja Group and Spice Group.

The government-appointed board is being advised by Goldman Sachs and Indian investment bank Avendus Advisors in its search for a strategic investor.