Mindtree campus in Bengaluru, India (Phorographer: Nishant Sharma/BloombergQuint)

Mindtree Board Evaluating ‘Several Options’ To Stave Off L&T Bid, Says Natarajan

Mindtree Ltd.’s board is evaluating "several options" to find a way out of the Larsen & Toubro Ltd.’s hostile bid, the company’s Executive Chairman Krishnakumar Natarajan said as he made it clear the diversified group is yet to come up with any proposal to address the concerns.

Asserting that "independence" of Mindtree is important, Natarajan, one of the company's promoters who had opposed L&T’s offer, said there is nothing about individuals.

"As a company we don't bother about what has gone in the past. We will be optimistic and practical, and hopefully we will arrive at a middle ground. Right now there is nothing on offer," Natarajan told PTI in an interview.

He also said they have not sought any meeting with L&T officials regarding the offer.

L&T has acquired Cafe Coffee Day owner VG Siddhartha's 20.32 percent stake in Mindtree and has also placed an order with brokers to pick up another 15 percent shares from the open market. Besides, an open offer has been made to buy over 5.13 crore or around 31 percent stake for Rs 5,030 crore.

Also read: Shareholders Stand By Mindtree Amid L&T’s Hostile Bid, Says CEO Rostow Ravanan

The total deal value is estimated to be around Rs 10,800 crore.

Mindtree has formed a panel under lead independent director and Jagran Prakashan President Apurva Purohit to look into "unsolicited open offer" by L&T. The committee is expected to submit its recommendations for consideration of shareholders by May 11.

Without elaborating, Natarajan said the board still has several options to find a way out from the L&T’s hostile bid and is constantly evaluating.

When asked if Mindtree promoters are looking to secure a place for themselves as part of negotiation with L&T, Natarajan said "it is not about individuals. It is about organisation".

"It is about Mindtree retaining its independence, protecting the value of Mindtree shareholders, customers and Mindtree minds (employees). The core issue is not whether Krishnakumar (Natarajan) is allowed as chairman or not," he said.

According to him, the open offer is now in place and that Mindtree shareholders have to decide.

"At the end of the day what has happened has happened. They will be a shareholder, we will try and find a middle ground. That is what is the future. There is a process which has been initiated which is the open offer. Shareholders have to decide...," he said.

On whether Mindtree investors' didn't back the management in buying stake from Siddhartha, Natarajan said there was enormous interest to buy his stake but as a commercial deal it did not fructify.

"We got an offer which was very close. I don't think it was a commercial thing that did not let the deal happen," Natarajan said.

Also read: How VG Siddhartha Is Freeing Up Pledged Mindtree Shares