Satyam Stumbles

satyamlogo-tcOkay, Satyam not only stumbles but it falls flat on its face. Tuesday after the Indian equity markets closed Satyam Computer Services, the 4th largest IT company, decides to acquire two companies as part of a diversification strategy. When I heard about the diversification, I thought maybe it was buying a data center company or some online advertising company. Nope, the Raju family decides to REALLY diversify and get into real estate and infrastructure. If cash is king then Satyam is ruling, they have over USD 1.2 billion in cash so they decide to blow USD 1.3 billion on Maytas Properties and USD 300 million on Maytas Infra. If you are wondering Maytas is Satyam spelled backwards. The problem is that both Maytas entities are Raju family owned companies and they were basically moving the cash from one company to another where they had a larger ownership stake. The most appalling part was on the conference call they mentioned they had a “Big 4” accounting firm help with the deal but would not reveal the name. Does anyone really still give a damn what a “Big 4” accounting firm has to say? And when asked about other real estate or infrastructure companies they looked at they again decided not to reveal any names.

Then Wednesday morning, they must have been enlightened because after ALL that due diligence and working with a “Big 4” accounting firm they decided to call the whole deal off. Then they get on TV and try to justify how just 12 hours ago it seemed like the best thing since sliced bread but now they are all about “shareholder value”. Bottom line, they don’t seem so transparent as a publicly listed company should be.

The irony is that in 2008 they received the Golden Peacock Award for corporate governance. I wonder if they have to return the award like Milli Vanilli gave back their Grammy after their lip sync scam?

The ultimate irony, Satyam means truth in sanskrit, something that is truly missing with the Raju family at the moment.

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