Naren Patni denies stake sale, TPG may be dark horse
Rising rumours of an imminent stake sale of Patni Computers has forced the company’s chairman Naren Patni to send out an e-mail on Monday to employees, putting speculation at rest.
"Patni Computer Systems has not been informed by any of its large investors of their intent to offload any stake in Patni. As a policy, the company does not comment on market speculations," the e-mail says.
Despite Naren Patni’s move, the stock market was abuzz with fresh rumours on Monday. Texas Pacific Group, where former Wipro vice-chairman Vivek Paul is the partner for venture funds’ business, is believed to have entered the race to acquire stakes from the promoters of Patni. There were rumours that multinational firms like IBM were in negotiations to take over a strategic stake in the Mumbai-based software major.
The Patni family owns 43.98 per cent in Patni Computer Systems, according to data submitted to the exchanges on March 2007. This includes stakes held by Chairman Naren Patni’s brothers Ashok and Gajendra, who are serving as executive directors in the company and hold approximately 14 per cent equity. Sources said Ashok and Gajendra Patni had not been involved in the operations of the company for quite some time.
"Some senior management people have left due to differences among the brothers," said a CEO of a Pune-based software company who did not wish to be named.
"The reason for the differences can be attributed to the fact that Naren Patni is the face of the company and the brothers are relegated to the back seat when it comes to strategy and execution," said a senior executive in the company.
Recently, the company initiated a major management recast whereby it did away with a corporate board and instead instituted a management council with Naren Patni himself overseeing some areas.