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Satyam bidding in final lap
April, 11th 2009

Board will take "appropriate" decision if Tech Mahindra bids.

With only two days left for the final bidding process to start (9 am on April 13), the government-appointed board of Satyam Computer Services is giving final touches to the modalities. And providing the extra information the potential bidders wanted.

If Tech Mahindra decides to bid, it could raise concerns of transparency and corporate governance, as Deepak Parekh, member of the Satyam board, has also been on Mahindra and Mahindras since 1990. Parekh may stay away from the process if Tech Mahindra bids, said a source close to the development. When spoken to, Satyam board chairman Kiran Karnik told Business Standard: Mr Parekh is a person of repute. If Tech Mahindra does bid, we will take all concerns into account and take an appropriate decision in this regard.

Meanwhile, Larsen & Toubro (L&T) which already has over 12 per cent stake in Satyam is emerging as a front-runner, says a source. Tech Mahindra is another strong contender and is understood to have called for a board meeting on Sunday, a day before the closing date for the financial bids. Senior officials from BT, Tech Mahindras largest stakeholder, are in Mumbai to attend the meet.

Nasdaq-listed Cognizant Technology Solutions is also understood to be in the race. An investment banker in the know said the IT bellwether has an arrangement with private equity firm Wilbur L Ross & Co and if the price exceeds the limit it has in mind, it will join hands with the PE firm.

The surprise package could be the Spice group, hinted a source. The B K Modi-owned group, which had completed the second round of bidding, withdrew from the race on grounds of lack of transparency. It had written to the Satyam board, expressing its concerns and asking for an open auction and increased transparency, besides disclosing names of the other bidders. A Spice Corp spokesperson had then said: We are withdrawing from the race, and will only reconsider our decision if our concerns are addressed.

When asked if Spice group is reconsidering, Karnik said: All I can say is that we have responded to their concerns. Spice group officials could not be reached, despite repeated attempts.

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