Indian Companies Confirm Bids for Satyam

Larsen & Toubro (L&T), an Indian engineering and construction company with a small IT services business, and Tech Mahindra, a mid-size Indian outsourcer, said Thursday that they had registered their interest in acquiring a majority stake in ailing Satyam Computer Services.

Tech Mahindra, which has British Telecommunications as a key client and investor, said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange on Thursday that it will decide on other steps after it receives a RFP (request for proposal) and other information in connection with its bid.

The company had earlier told a local TV channel that it may not bid if the full financial information on Satyam is not made available.

The deadline for bidders to register their interest in acquiring a majority stake in Satyam ended on Thursday at 5 p.m. local time.

After they register their interest online, they will receive a RFP from the company, and asked to submit a detailed expression of interest by Friday, Satyam said.

A Satyam spokeswoman said Thursday that information on the number and names of investors registering interest would not be available immediately. Satyam's board is meeting Friday and some announcement on investor interest can be expected.

Satyam was plunged into a crisis after the company's founder, B. Ramalinga Raju, said in January that the business inflated profits for years. The company accounts are being revised, and information on the company's financials and business will be provided to short-listed bidders only in the later stages of the bidding process, Satyam said. That move is likely to have deterred some potential investors, analysts said.

A stake in Satyam is likely to be interesting to small and medium-size Indian outsourcers looking to have access to Satyam's customers, analysts said. For large Indian outsourcers and multinational companies like IBM and Capgemini that already run large Indian operations, and have a large number of clients, a stake in Satyam is not likely to be of interest, they added.

Hewlett-Packard and IBM have not registered interest in a stake in Satyam, according to sources close to the situation. Market and media reports had said that the two companies may consider bidding. Executives at both companies said they would not comment on market speculation.

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