Five posers to L&T from Mindtree promoters

Our Bureau | Updated on March 19, 2019 Published on March 19, 2019

(From Left) Subroto Bagchi, Co-founder, Mindtree, Krishnakumar Natarajan, Executive Chairman, Mindtree and Rostow Ravanan, CEO, Mindtree at a press conference at their Mindtree campus on Mysur road in Bengaluru on Tuesday   -  BUSINESS LINE

These developments come in the backdrop of L&T agreeing to buy out Mindtree’s largest shareholder VG Siddhartha’s 20.4 per cent for ₹980 per share

Mindtree founders on Tuesday went on the offensive stating that if L&T proceeds with its hostile bid for their company, clients and employees will walk away without any hesitation.

“A hostile takeover by Larsen and Toubro, unprecedented in our industry, could undo all of the progress we’ve made and immensely set our organisation back,” the promoters of MindTree said in a statement which was read out at a press conference jointly addressed by Krishnakumar Natarajan, Subroto Bagchi and Rostow Ravanan.

They also put forth five questions to the L & T management:

1. You (L&T) have chosen to mount the first-ever hostile takeover in the 50-year-old “unblemished” Indian IT industry. If you persist in what you are doing, you will be forever remembered for this and is this how you want to set an example?

2. You are a company with a turnover of ₹120,000 crore. You are 18 times our size. Why can’t you build a great technology business with all your resources and capability without decimating another organisation?

3. Our customers choose us for our unique culture. They will stall all future business and even take their business elsewhere. In the process, you would have demolished shareholder value for both companies. Is that the right thing to do?

4. This is a people business. Our people have signed for a mission and not just a salary. Take their mission away and they will go. What would you be left with?

5. If companies like you behave with extreme hostility to first generation entrepreneurs, what message are you giving to all start-ups in the country?

These developments come in the backdrop of L&T agreeing to buy out Mindtree’s largest shareholder VG Siddhartha’s 20.4 per cent for ₹980 per share. It has also placed an order for an on-market purchase of up to 15 per cent, in addition to a 31 per cent through open offer. L&T’s offer is at a 1.8 per cent premium Mindtree’s share price of ₹962.50. Mindtree is set to announce a buyback on March 20.

The founders also seemed upset at Siddhartha selling off his stake. Expressing surprise at the decision, Ravanan who is the company’s CEO said, “a shareholder cannot put a company at risk,” he said.

Urmil Shah, Research Analyst, Institutional Equities, IDBI Capital said that ultimately the beneficiaries will be investors.

Mindtree shares closed at ₹943, or 2 per cent down, and L&T shares closed at ₹1,356, down 1.6 per cent.

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Published on March 19, 2019
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