Satyam to sell controlling stake in business

After days of turmoil and a change in chief executive the company now wants to sell a 51 percent share of the business
Written by Colin Barker, Contributor

Satyam Computer Services confirmed on Monday that it would put 51 percent of its business up for sale.

The company is hoping that the move will finally quell any doubts over its future. There has been speculation over the future of the company since January, when B Ramalinga Raju quit as chairman after it emerged that the company had been logging non-existent cash and interest on its balance sheet.

The company is one of the world's largest outsourcers. In October, Satyam said it believed it would have achieved close to £1bn worth of outsourcing business in the UK during 2008.

In a statement published on Monday, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) said it had relaxed restrictions on the minimum sale price, to encourage bidding for a majority shareholding in Satyam. The government is hoping that the sale of a controlling stake in the company, which has lost around 80 percent of its market value since January, will restore confidence in Satyam's future, the SEBI said in the statement.

"There is no requirement to have a minimum floor price that is otherwise required under Indian law in connection with the initial subscription," the SEBI's statement read.

The company's new chief executive, AS Murty, who was appointed in February, said at the time he was confident he and the board could "accomplish the impossible"  and "address the interests of all stakeholders".

Satyam employs 53,000 staff in 66 countries, and counts 185 Fortune 500 companies among its customers.

Any companies with an interest in acquiring the majority shareholding must register that interest by 12 March.

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