Business Today

Kurukshetra redux

Aristotle onassis, asked why he had so few friends, once retorted: ‘When you are rich, you have friends; when you are very rich, you make enemies.’

     Print Edition: December 16, 2007

Aristotle onassis, asked why he had so few friends, once retorted: ‘When you are rich, you have friends; when you are very rich, you make enemies.’

Well, the same seems to hold true for sections of India Inc. Even as it has grown exponentially in the post-liberalisation era, instances of fratricidal battles within big business families have also ballooned. Here, we take a look at some of the more famous fights.

Family: Nandas of Escorts
Year: 2005
Company involved: Escorts Heart Institute
Dramatis personae: Rajan and Anil Nanda
Cause: Rajan Nanda decided to sell majority stake in Escorts Heart Institute to Fortis Healthcare. The deal enraged younger brother Anil who moved the court to stall the deal.
Outcome: The case is still sub-judice.

Family: Singhs of Apollo Tyres
Year: November, 2007
Company involved: Apollo Tyres
Dramatis personae: Onkar Singh Kanwar and his brother Narinder Jeet Kanwar
Cause: N.J. Kanwar has approached CLB alleging that his brother has fraudulently acquired control of the company.
Outcome: Apollo Tyres has challenged maintainability of the petition.

Family: Nambiars of BPL
Year: 2004
Company involved: BPL Communications
Dramatis personae: T.P.G. Nambiar and his son-in-law Rajeev Chandrasekhar
Cause: BPL Group Chairman T.P.G. Nambiar alleged that Rajeev Chandrasekhar illegally wrested control of BPL Communications.
Outcome: The two reached an out-of-court settlement.

Family: Ambanis of Reliance
Year: 2004
Company involved: Reliance Group
Dramatis personae: Mukesh Ambani and his younger brother Anil
Cause: Division of the Ambani empire
Outcome: The empire was partitioned. Mukesh got Reliance Industries and IPCL; Anil got Reliance Infocomm (now Reliance Communications), Reliance Energy and Reliance Capital.

Family: Mirchandanis of Mirc Electronics
Year: 2007
Company involved: Guviso
Dramatis personae: Gulu and Sonu Mirchandani and Vijay Mansukhani
Cause: Sonu Mirchandani and Vijay Mansukhani reportedly had serious differences with Gulu Mirchandani over control of the company.
Outcome: Not clear; but there’s no news of any stake sale.

Family: Bajajs of Bajaj Auto
Year: 2003
Company involved: Bajaj empire
Dramatis personae: Rahul Bajaj and his brother Shishir
Cause: Shishir Bajaj wants to break away from Bajaj Group’s in order to carve out his own empire.
Outcome: The fight continues, with no end in sight.

Family: Patnis of Patni Computer Systems
Year: 2007
Company involved: Patni Computer Systems
Dramatis personae: Gajendra, Narendra and Ashok Patni
Cause: Gajendra Patni and Ashok Patni, who are not involved in its management, reportedly want to sell out.
Outcome: Narendra insists that all is well in the promoter family. But the buzz refuses to die.

Family: Bhai Mohan Singh’s heirs
Year: 2006
Assets involved: 2.4 m Ranbaxy shares
Dramatis personae: Malvinder, Shivinder, their mother Nimmi and uncles Analjit Singh and Manjit Singh
Cause: The ’90s family settlement that had left some issues outstanding.
Outcome: Analjit has settled with his nephews. Manjit’s fight with the others continues.

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