Satyam Computer Services has started negotiations with AOL Time Warner, America’s largest Internet service provider company, and Singapore Telecom for offloading part or all of its 52.5 per cent stake in Satyam Infoway.
AOL Time Warner has been testing the waters for its entry into the Indian Internet access business for the last two years, but has not made any headway till now.
According to industry sources, it would take “some time” for any deal to fructify. “It appears Satyam is favourably disposed to a deal with AOL Time Warner if commercial terms satisfy both.”
Satyam has decided to offload its stake in the Nasdaq-listed Sify to enable both companies to remain “pure play companies in their respective areas”—Satyam Computers in software services and Satyam Infoway in Internet access. Satyam would also buy Sify’s fledgling software services division for an already agreed $7 million.
AOL Time Warner’s media arm has already set up a subsidiary here and operates the movie channel HBO, news channel CNN and the Cartoon Network.
The $4.9-billion SingTel entered India by picking up a strategic stake in Bharti Tele-Ventures, the holding company for the Bharti’s group foray into cellular and basic telephony. It is also a major player in the ISP business.
For the second quarter ended September, Sify reported a marginal decline in cash loss to $4.8 million. Topline grew to $10.9 million against $9 million in the same period last year.