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Fraud-plagued Satyam Finds a Buyer

Fraud-plagued Satyam Finds a Buyer

At the beginning of 2008, giant Indian technology company Satyam was rocked by fraud charges, with the chairman of the company resigning after admitting the company had been cooking its books for years to hide a billion-dollar shortfall between its on-the-books earnings and what it was actually pulling in. The failure sent shockwaves through the Indian technology industry, with some wondering whether the country’s fledgling computing sector could survive such blatant malfeasance from one of its biggest players.

So far, though, the Indian tech industry has managed to keep going—and today Satyam managed to lock down a buyer: Tech Mihindra will pay more than $500 million for a controlling stake in Satyam. Tech Mahindra edged out other high-profile bidders, including private equity firm WL Ross & Co. and engineering outfit Larsen & Toubro. The Satyam deal should lend some stability to the Indian technology market even as it faces slowed growth from the global economic downturn.

The structure of Tech Mahindra’s deal has the company paying $351 million for a 31 percent stake in Satyam, with an open offer to buy another 20 percent of the company for a cost of up to nearly $225 million. Tech Mahindra’s price represents a 23 percent premium on Satyam’s previous closing price.

Tech Mahindra is already India’s sixth-largest outsourcer for technology jobs, and the Satyam buy-in seems to position the company to take on bigger outfits like Wipro and Tata Consultancy Services. Britain’s BT Group owns 31 percent of Tech Mahindra.

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