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More suitors queue up for Satyam

As many as six companies from the manufacturing, information technology and private equity space have shown interest to buy out the firm mired in a web of financial irregularities.

india Updated: Jan 30, 2009 10:34 IST
HT Correspondent

The number of potential suitors to acquire beleaguered Satyam Computers is growing by the day as the fraud-hit firm takes its first tentative steps to wipe off the loss of image and business after its former chairman B Ramalinga Raju confessed that accounts were doctored for several years.

As many as six companies from the manufacturing, information technology and private equity space have shown interest to buy out the firm mired in a web of financial irregularities.

The newly constituted board, which has narrowed down on a list of three possible candidates for a chief executive officer (CEO) and chief financial officer (CFO), is also mulling providing legal immunity to the new management leadership team from being liable to the previous records of the company.

“About half a dozen companies have shown interest in acquiring Satyam,” Tarun Das, a government nominee on the newly formed board of the IT firm and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) chief mentor, told reporters on the sidelines of function.
The discussions, however, were on an informal basis and the board was yet to receive an expression of interest from interested companies.

He also said that investment bankers are trying to find out which firm is interested while evaluating proposals. The process could take take six weeks, he said.

“We are talking to banks for fresh credit,” Das said without divulging any further details. ICICI Bank, BNP Paribas, and Citibank are among its bankers.

The board has appointed Goldman Sachs and Avendus as investment bankers to advise the company on the way forward and to explore various strategic options.

Das said that the number of employees is well over 50,000, “The figure is not inflated and we have got this checked from internal and external sources.”

Das further said that government would appoint the top executives including the CEO and CFO shortly.

There was reluctance among professionals to join the IT firm which has received a lot of flak in the last few months after its co-founder and chairman B Ramalinga Raju admitted to fraud. The modalities of providing legal immunities are therefore being worked out, he said.