Monday, January 29, 2007

Wedding Bells Ringing For Corus

It is billed as a mega event - it is the wedding of Corus. It is also something unprecedented. The wedding is not going to be over in just a few hours. It will start by 10pm Indian Standard Time on 30th January, 2007 and depending upon what transpires, it may continue up to 8-30am on 1st ebruary, 2007. Interestingly, the groom has not been fixed as yet and there are two suitors.
Yes, I am referring to the acquisition drama of the steel giant Corus for which initially the only suitor was Tatas. But CSN of Brazil came out of the blue and demanded the hands of Corus. I was very thrilled at the prospect of Tata-Corus acquisition as it would have been the biggest by any Indian company for about $9 billion and made it the fifth largest steel manufacturer in the world. Though the earlier acquisition by Mittal Steels of Arcelor (which turned out to be a long-drawn corporate tug-of-war) ended making the combine the biggest steel company in the world, it was, in any case, launched from the foreign soils unlike the acquisition bid by Tatas - the oldest steel manufacturer and the biggest in the private sector in India.
There are contradictory press reports emanating from London about who will win the hands of Corus. 'Daily Telegraph' has said "CSN has the great desire to win Corus and may go as far as 600 pence." The Sunday Times quoted sources saying :"Do not write off Tata yet ...they are serious and they believe they can win." The irony lies in the highest bidder getting Corus despite a general impression prevailing that Tatas and Corus want each other.
In my post 'The eternal triangle of Corus-Tata-CSN', I had already said that I would be happy to see Tatas emerge as winner. I had, at the same time, expressed my misgivings about the drama ending like the film Devdas in which the hero (read Tatas) ruins himself without trying to save Paro (read Corus). Barely 30 hours are remaining for the curtains to come down. The suspense is building up. But then, I am keeping cool being reminded of the wise saying: "By all means get married. If you get a good wife, you will live happily ever after. If you do not, you will become a philosopher."
I do not want Tatas to become a philosopher.

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