Davos: At least two more companies have expressed interest in acquiring Satyam Computer Services Ltd, the software maker that’s at the centre of India’s biggest corporate governance scandal.
Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd, or M&M, which has interests in information technology services through its arm Tech Mahindra Ltd, said it would look at buying Hyderabad-based Satyam if it finds strategic value in the deal.
“We have a major IT company. We are watching the situation with interest. If there is anything of strategic value, clearly we will be looking at it,” M&M vice-chairman and managing director Anand Mahindra said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum meetings in Davos. Mahindra declined to elaborate.
Strategic outlook: Mahindra and Mahindra’s Anand Mahindra has confirmed his company’s interest in picking up a stake in Satyam. Abhijit Bhatlekar / Mint
Hinduja Global Solutions, an arm of the UK-based Hinduja Group, also evinced interest in acquiring the troubled IT company. Company officials said Hinduja Global had sent a formal communication to Goldman Sachs Group Inc., one of the investment bankers appointed to find strategic investors for Satyam, that it is keen to participate in the bidding process.
The company has $100 million (Rs490 crore) on its books to fund the acquisition and if required, the Hindujas would also chip in, the officials said.
Satyam founder B. Ramalinga Raju on 7 January resigned as chairman, confessing to having mis-stated accounts to the tune of Rs7,136 crore over several years.
Raju, his brother and former managing director B. Rama Raju and former chief financial officer Srinivas Vadlamani have been arrested. The government disbanded the Satyam board and launched a probe by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office.
The government-appointed Satyam board, which is meeting on 5 February, is likely to discuss the takeover proposals. B.K. Modi-promoted Spice Group and engineering company Larsen and Toubro Ltd have previously expressed interest in Satyam.
Modi said he didn’t favour a negotiated deal. “We want auction of the company as that is the most transparent method to decide on the valuation,” he said, adding that his company, which has Rs2,000 crore of cash it can infuse into Satyam, expects to get a response from the board of Satyam on Monday.
In Davos, meanwhile, Indian government officials said the Satyam scam was a one-off event and the country’s regulatory systems remained strong.
Commerce minister Kamal Nath, Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and science and technology minister Kapil Sibal are among the Indian delegates attending the annual meetings.
Ahluwalia said the Satyam scandal would not have long-term damaging impact on India “as long as we handle it properly and it is seen that wrongdoers are not allowed to get away with it; quick corrective actions are taken and I think...authorities are doing that.”