Satyam’s new owner likely to be known Monday

Sunday, April 12, 2009

BANGALORE - India’s fourth largest software exporter Satyam Computer will get a new buyer Monday, a little over three months after its founder B. Ramalinga Raju shocked India Inc by admitting massive financial fraud of Rs.7,800 crore (Rs.78 billion).

Satyam’s new board of directors, appointed by the central government within a week of Raju’s confession Jan 7, will announce the highest bidder for the IT major which employees around 50,000 people and services several major companies across the world, a company spokesperson told IANS.

The six-member board, headed by Kiran Karnik, former president of the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) that represents the software industry, will meet in Mumbai to select the highest bidder who should also possess technical capability to run the fraud-hit firm.

The board will inform the Company Law Board (CLB) of its selection, which in turn will announce its approval, expected within a week starting Monday. The new owner will take over the management only after CLB nod, the spokesperson said.

Engineering major Larsen and Toubro (L&), telecom and software product outsourcer Tech Mahindra, and private-equity firm WL Ross are the major contenders for the Hyderabad-headquartered Satyam.

L&T already holds 12.04 percent stake in Satyam.

The government-appointed board has requested former chief justice of India S.P. Bharucha to oversee the bidding process.

Besides Karnik, the board comprises HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh, former Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) member C. Achuthan, and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) mentor Tarun Das.

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