However, given a choice most Indian promoters would prefer to give Korea the go-by. “Sellers there always like the buyer to be an insider (a Korean). Also, the cost of doing business is high there,” explains Venugopal Dhoot, Chairman & MD, Videocon Group. Investment bankers echo the same concerns. Says Aditya Sanghi, MD (Investment Banking), YES Bank: “Apart from ethnic issues (language and culture), regulations, the legal system and labour laws have seen India Inc. inclined more towards the West than the East.” Adds Ravi Sardana, Senior Vice President (Investment Banking), I-Sec: “There are also concerns over the nature of assets and, most importantly, India Inc. doesn’t want assets where they have to invest time in restructuring. Secondly, when you get American assets at a cheap price as against assets in India or in Asia then why would someone prefer other assets.”
Bajaj Auto is said to have shown interest in acquiring cult motorcycle brands like Ducati and Triumph (an Italian and a British respectively). Says S. Ravikumar, Vice President (Business Development), Bajaj Auto: “Inorganic growth initiatives in non-overlap areas is speedier and will enhance technology competence.”
But don’t rule out Korea. “They (the Koreans) are slowly realising the power of India and Indian companies and the confidence among them is gaining that we will take care of the locals,” says Dhoot.
— Mahesh Nayak
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