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Satyam Goes to the Auction Block
Cooked books have yet to be restated - and won't be for some time - so the company's suitors are flying blind

A majority 51% of the big survival-threatened Indian outsourcer Satyam Computer Services Ltd, whose disgraced founder and former CEO confessed in January to loading its books with a billion dollars in "fictitious" assets and "non-existent" cash, was put up for auction Monday.

Those cooked books have yet to be restated - and won't be for some time - so the company's suitors are flying blind.

The company has managed to retain most of its handsome client roster of 600 companies including GE and Quantas as well as its roughly 50,000 employees.



Local media said both IBM and Oracle were interested but Reuters reported last Friday that sources told it IBM was unlikely to bid because of the "legal and financial risks related to the scandal."

It's unclear exactly what Satyam's liabilities are. And there are lawsuits pending against it.

Locals like Larsen & Toubro, India's top engineering firm, which already owns 12% of Satyam, and the Spice Group are expected to have a go and names like HP and CSC have also been thrown around.

Bidders are supposed to express their initial interest by Thursday and submit a detail "Expression of Interest" (EOI) together with proof of $290 million in available funds by March 20.

The process then calls for eligible bidders to be short-listed and given access to "certain business, financial and legal diligence materials" under a non-disclosure agreement, a stand-still agreement and a "no claims" undertaking.

Bids will then be entertained. The authorities have removed the usual requirement of a floor.

The company is supposed to issue the winner new shares equal to a 31% stake and the winner will then go to the open market to buy the other 20% offering whatever bid price succeeds. If the market won't produce the 20%, more new shares will be issued to make up the difference.

Satyam's market cap is currently about ~$572 million, down from $7 billion last May.

Interested parties must have net assets worth at least $150 million and the shares can't be sold for three years.

About Maureen O'Gara
Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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