US Plans to Buy Toxic Assets of $1 Trillion - The United States offered on Monday, financing for private investors to help cleanse banks of up to $1 trillion in toxic assets that are blocking lending and worsening a deep US recession. Questions remain about how the assets would be priced and the stakes are high for Mr. Geithner as he seeks to convince investors he has a viable plan to get credit flowing again. Initially treasury will pitch in with $75 billion to $100 billion to launch the partnerships, taking the money from the $700 billion financial rescue fund Congress approved in October. The government money will be put alongside private capital and then leveraged up to $500 billion, or possibly double that amount, with the help of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, a US bank regulator, and the Federal Reserve. (The Economic Times)

Satyam Board Shortlists Six Bidders - The government-appointed board of Satyam Computer Services is understood to have shortlisted six bidders, including BK Modi’s Spice, Larsen & Toubro and Tech Mahindra, in the second round of the bidding process for selling a majority stake in the troubled company. Global majors like IBM are understood to have entered the second round. This, however, has not yet been confirmed. Other names floating include that of Hewlett-Packard and KKR Private Equity Investors. (Business Standard)

SKS to Raise Rs 500 Crore via Rated Bonds - As a part of its Rs 5,000-crore incremental borrowing plan for the next financial year, Hyderabad-based SKS Microfinance is planning to raise Rs 500 crore through rated bonds. It has also firmed up plans to raise Rs 25 crore through issuance of commercial papers (CPs) this year. SKS will be the first non-banking finance company (NBFC) in the microfinance space to use CPs for fund-raising. Also, SKS is planning to raise Rs 500 crore through securitisation deals with financial institutions next fiscal. This year, it has plans to expand into Tamil Nadu and in the north-east states too. (Business Standard)

Highway Developers May Prefer Stake Sale Route - Highway developers are looking at selling small stakes in various central road projects to raise funds, as banks deny them loans citing high risk involved in build-operate-transfer (BOT) projects. Gayatri Projects is ready to dilute a small stake to investors who are willing to invest in its ongoing projects. The finance crunch is making highway projects unattractive for small and medium companies. Soma enterprises is also considering various options of funding such as roping in firms either as investors or partners. The stretches being awarded by National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) are longer now and the funding needs are higher. While the maximum length of stretches was 50 km a few years ago, it has gone up to 200-250 km now. (The Economic Times)

Tata to Consolidate Beverage Businesses - The Tata group is learnt to have set in motion a major revamp exercise at group company, Tata Tea that would consolidate varied beverages businesses such as tea, water and soft drinks under a single entity to simplify operational issues and also raise funds. The consolidated entity will result in a clear holding, operating and reporting structure, which would cut costs sharply. As part of the move, the group is also exploring plans of merging Mt Everest Mineral Water with Tata Tea, and consolidating the Himalayan brand under the Tata fold.  Sources say that costs are the main reasons for the consolidation. (The Economic Times)

Ratan Tata Exits Tata Teleservices Maharashtra Board - Tata Group supremo Ratan Tata has exited from the board of Tata Teleservices Maharashtra (TTML), effective from March 23. Further, Kishore A Chaukar has been appointed as Non-executive Director and Chairman on the board of TTML, with effect from March 24. R Gandhi shall cease to be the Director on the board effective from today and Amal Ganguly has been appointed as an independent director effective from tomorrow. (The Economic Times)

Orient Ceramics Looks for European Partner for a Possible JV - Tile manufacturing company Orient Ceramics and Industries is scouting for a European business partner for a possible joint venture. The company is looking for a technical collaboration with a European company, probably Spanish or Italian. The company, which is eyeing a turnover of Rs 235 crore in the current fiscal, has a market share of 7% in the roughly Rs 3,000 crore organised Indian tile market. It currently has a unit at Sikandarabad in western Uttar Pradesh, besides three contract manufacturing facilities elsewhere. (Business Standard)

NDTV to Demerge its News and Entertainment Buisness - In a complex restructuring exercise, the Prannoy Roy-promoted broadcasting company, New Delhi Television Ltd (NDTV), is ready for a demerger of its news and entertainment business. In a court-convened meeting of its shareholders on March 24, the company plans to move its news broadcasting business to NDTV Studios Ltd, while its entertainment TV business, NDTV Imagine and NDTV Lifestyle, will continue to stay under New Delhi Television Ltd. The entertainment verticals operate under NDTV’s subsidiary, NDTV Networks. The company is also moving its proposed news, current affairs and infotainment channel for Chennai from Metronation Chennai Television Private Ltd to NDTV Hindu Media Ltd. The company will launch a local news and infotainment channel in Chennai in a joint venture with the publishers of The Hindu newspaper, as a 49% equity partner. (Business Standard)

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