Bangalore: Financial bids for Satyam Computer Services Ltd will be submitted by next week, three bankers involved in the deal said on Thursday, and the sale of the fraud-hit Indian outsourcer is likely to be completed by mid-April, another person with knowledge of the proceedings said.
In the fray? Wilbur Ross has said Satyam is “interesting”. Jeff Kowalsky / Bloomberg
“By 9 April, we have to put in the final and financial bids,” one banker directly involved in the deal said on condition of anonymity. The company’s government-appointed board had said last month it hoped to finalize a buyer by 30 April.
“It is expected to be completed much earlier than that,” said another person, who is not allowed to speak to the media about the bidding process. “It should be completed in the next couple of weeks.”
Satyam said it may declare a winner if no other bids are within 90% of the highest offer. The company will be sold via an open auction if there is a bid that is 90% of the highest offer, it said.
A company spokeswoman said the board of Satyam, headquartered in Hyderabad, was expected to meet in Mumbai on Friday, but declined to comment on the agenda.
Satyam, whose market value has slid to about $530 million (Rs2,665 crore) from $7 billion in May, is keen to find a new buyer to restore the confidence of its staff and more than 600 clients.
The company plunged into a crisis after its founder and chairman B. Ramalinga Raju quit after admitting to cooking the company’s books for years. Raju is being held in jail.
Ashwani Kumar, director of the Central Bureau of Investigation, which is probing the matter, said it will press charges in India’s biggest corporate fraud on 9 April.
Engineering firm Larsen and Toubro Ltd and mid-sized outsourcer Tech Mahindra Ltd are among the suitors, and local media have said US private equity firm WL Ross and Co. Llc. was also in the race.
Wilbur Ross called Satyam “interesting” on CNBC TV on Wednesday, but declined further comment due to India’s confidentiality rules. Ross has invested $120 million in two Indian firms, including $82 million in SpiceJet Ltd.
Analysts have said Satyam looks attractive because of its long list of marquee clients, including General Electric Co. and Qantas Airways Ltd, and due to the plunge in its market value. But bidders face a tough job in valuing the company due to uncertainty about its accounts and legal liabilities arising from the lawsuits filed in the US by its shareholders.
PTI contributed to this story.