Investment bank Goldman Sachs has said it helped stabilise Satyam following a major accounting scandal at the Indian outsourcer.
By organising the $1.1 billion sale a year ago of Satyam to Tech Mahindra – a joint venture between British Telecom and Mahindra & Mahindra – Goldman Sachs said it helped preserve jobs and kept the business running.
“The successful outcome stabilised Satyam’s business, saved thousands of jobs and recovered significant value for Satyam shareholders around the world,” stated the bank in its annual report to shareholders, as it reported $45 billion revenues for 2009.
But a Forrester report last month somewhat disagrees with that verdict. It said that doing business with Satyam, which had artificially inflated its profit figures, triggering the scandal a year ago, remained risky. Problems included high attrition, cultural differences between the new management and old Satyam staffers, and risks arising from the unavailability of the company's audited financials, it said.
Goldman Sachs said today that as a financial adviser to the firm, tasked with preventing its collapse by selling it to an appropriate buyer, it had “helped achieve a solution that met the requirements of numerous parties, including India’s regulatory and legal authorities.” It had determined that in spite of “uncertainty” around Satyam, “the company had strong management and a viable business model”.
“The rebranded Mahindra Satyam has regained its place among India’s IT services leaders, and provides an exciting growth platform for its new owners,” Goldman Sachs concluded.
Goldman Sachs currently faces its own questions over business practices. Reports in the press this week stated it had bet against its own clients, when it changed its housing market position in 2007, before the price crash.
Rolling Stone journalist Matt Taibbi had previously penned an article alleging Goldman Sachs had inflated economic bubbles, packaging and selling loans to other banks that eventually lost money when the prices crashed. Taibbi branded Goldman Sachs as "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money".
In a letter to the bank's shareholders today, chief executive Lloyd Blankfein appeared to deny the allegations, stating the company “certainly did not know” the future of the market in 2007 “any more than we can predict the future of our markets today”. The short positions were only intended at offsetting other positions, he said.