IBM Emerges as Frontrunner for Satyam Acquisition - Global IT giant IBM is understood to be the front-runner to acquire Satyam Computer Solutions, a company it named as one of its main competitors in a filing to the New York Stock Exchange in February. According to sources, the US Major has begun discussions with Satyam's government-nominated board and expressed its desire to acquire a majority stake in the company. A team of investment bankers and lawyers from the US and Europe has been brought in to assess the size of the deal and the risks associated with it. The company is also understood to have conducted an initial due diligence on some of Satyam's major customers. Other prominent players in the race are Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and the Spice group. The government-nominated board is expected to invite bids for a 31% stake in the company, but is likely to assure the successful bidder 51 per cent even if it fails to get the additional mandatory 20% from the open offer. (Business Standard)

Lal Pathlabs Looks for Acquisitions in South and West India - Aiming to achieve Rs 200 crore turnover in the next fiscal, diagnostic chain Lal Pathlabs is looking at acquisitions and tie ups to increase its presence in southern and western India. The firm is interested in acquiring working standalone labs in those regions and is open to the idea of strategic tie ups with labs. It will also invest around Rs 60 crore on other expansion projects. (The Economic Times)

Moser Baer Seeks Funding for $1 Billion Photovoltaic Cell Plant - Moser Baer is looking for tying up funds for its proposed $1 billion photovoltaic cell plant in Chennai. The plant which will have a capacity of 500 MW for thin film cells will put Moser Baer among the top firms in the business globally. The subsidiary Moser Baer Photo Voltaic (MBPV), has already raised Rs 811 crore from private equity investors in two tranches for funding its existing facilities in Noida. The clutch of investors- Nomura, CDC Group, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, IDFC PE and IDFC- ho0ld around 10% stake in the firm, while the rest of the stakeis held by the promoters, Deepak Puri and Ratul Puri. (The Economic Times)

ICT Group Rejects Essar’s $132 million Acquisition Offer - Nasdaq-listed outsourcing firm ICT Group has rejected the $132 million (Rs 680 crore) acquisition offer the Essar group’s Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) arm, Aegis. The Board of Directors of the ICT Group has determined that it will not be in the best interest of the company to pursue the transaction proposed by Aegis Ltd on March 2, 2009. On March 2, Aegis had made a proposal to the board of ICT Group to acquire all the outstanding shares of the company for eight dollars per piece in cash. The offer price represented a premium of about 71 per cent over the 30-day average closing price of ICT shares and around 122 per cent premium above the last closing price as of February 27. (Business Standard)

LIC Hikes Stake in Gail to 10.10% - Life Insurance Corporation of India has hiked its stake in Gail India to 10.10% after purchasing over 13.40 lakh shares through the open market. Calculated on the basis of February 2 closing price, the transaction is expected to cost over Rs 26.83 crore to LIC. Prior to the aforesaid purchase LIC held 9.99% stake, while now it holds over 12.81 crore shares representing 10.10% stake in Gail India. (The Economic Times)

Polycab Wires and Nexans to Set Up Rs 400 Crore JV in Gujarat - India's leading cable-maker, Polycab Wires and Cables, has tied-up with France's Nexans to set up an Euro 60-million (Rs 400-crore) project near Baroda in Gujarat. A 50:50 joint venture will be set up by Polycab Wires and Cables and Nexans. The JV will manufacture speciality cables like elastomeric and extra-high voltage cables (EHV). Earlier the two firms had planned to set up the project in two phases at different locations, but now the facility is being set up at a single location. The Euro 60 million project will commence operations in 18-months. (Business Standard)

IBEUL to Set Up Biomass Power Plant in Orissa - Ind-Barath Energy Utkal Limited (IBEUL), which is setting up a 700 MW (2x350) coal-based power plant at Sahajbahal in Orissa’s Jharsuguda district, has proposed to set up a 20 MW biomass power plant at Chiplima near Sambalpur at an investment of Rs 80 crore. IBEUL’s biomass plant would come up on 40 acres of land and the company has already presented a proposal to the state government owned Industrial Promotion and Investment Corporation of Orissa Limited (Ipicol) and the Orissa Renewable Energy Development Agency (OREDA) for the project. The proposed biomass plant is expected to be operational in about 18 months of allotment of land by the Orissa government. The project would generate direct employment for 150 people besides providing indirect employment to 300 others. (Business Standard)

Cholamandalam DBS to Raise Rs 750 Crore Against Securities at 14.5% - Non-banking finance company (NBFC) Cholamandalam DBS is raising Rs 750 crore against securities held by it at 14.5% to correct its asset-liability mismatch. IDBI Bank’s Stressed Asset Stabilisation Fund, the designated SPV, had sanctioned the amount, which was proposed to be drawn in tranches by the end of the month. te refinance tenure will be 3 months initially. As part of the restructuring, Cholamandalam DBS promoters will pump in an equity of Rs 300 crore by the end of this month. Another Rs 200 crore capital-infusion is planned for the next financial year. (Business Standard)

Federal Bank, CBS Merger May Get Delayed - The proposed merger of Federal Bank and Catholic Syrian Bank (CSB) may be delayed, following the announcement of dates for general elections. All major political parties, especially the Congress, seem to be sympathising with the Thrissur Arch Diocese of the Catholic Church, which is vehemently opposing the merger move. Since the church has quite an influence in parliamentary constituencies such as Thrissur, Chalakudy, all political parties are publicly supporting the anti-merger move organised by the Diocese. So, while the merger seems inevitable, it is likely to be delayed further by 6-7 months. Meanwhile, the board of directors of CSB, that had earlier given an in-principle nod to the merger, has constituted a four-member committee to negotiate with the church and others. According to banking experts, this is a tactical move initiated by Federal Bank to cool down the anti-merger agitations. (Business Standard

AAPC Singapore Pte to Invest Rs 365.78 crore in Formulae 1 Hotels in India - The Government has allowed AAPC Singapore Pte Ltd to invest Rs 365.78 crore in an Indian company to construct, develop, own and manage low-budget Formulae 1 hotels here. AAPC is a hotel management company and Formulae 1 is an Accor brand. Globally, Formulae 1 hotels are recognised as the international benchmark for budget hotels and offer modern functional rooms with basic comforts at affordable prices. The Foreign Investment Promotion Board on Wednesday allowed AAPC Singapore to invest up to 100 per cent in an Indian company by subscribing to equity and fully convertible debentures. (Business Line)


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