Infosys co-founders remain silent on stake sale move

Infosys co-founders remain silent on stake sale move
Even as Infosys co-founder N R Narayana Murthy denied the move to sell promoter stake in the company, other co-founders remained silent on the issue on Friday, thereby fuelling speculation that the stake sale could happen at anytime.

The company’s share price ended the day’s trading lower by 0.80% to close at Rs 948.65 after witnessing an intra-day fall of 3.5% as the news of company’s co-founders selling off their entire 12.75% stake spread.

A section of the press on Friday reported that Infosys promoter shareholders are planning to sell their stake in the company. The founder promoters led by Murthy hold a combined 12.75% stake in the company, while Murthy together with his family members hold a maximum of 3.44% stake.

When DH contacted Kris Gopalakrishnan, another major promoter shareholder, he refused to offer any comment on the matter. “I am not ready to comment on any matters pertaining to Infosys at this point in time,” Gopalakrishnan said.

Other promoter shareholders such as Nandan Nilekani and S D Shibulal were not reachable despite repeated attempts to reach out to them.

In a statement, the second largest services company stated that this speculation has already been categorically denied by the promoters. “The company further reiterates that it has no information on any such development,” Infosys said.

The company also appealed to the media not to fuel such speculative stories as they are likely to harm the interests of the company and all its stakeholders. The last sale of promoter stake happened in Infosys when Kris Gopalakrishnan and SD Shibulal sold 50 lakh and 25 lakh shares, respectively via block deals in March 2016. The 75 lakh shares, representing 0.3% stake in Infosys, were offered in a price range of Rs 1,149 and Rs 1,178.5 per share.

Commenting on the development, Infosys Chief Executive Officer Vishal Sikka in a statement to a media house said he would fully trust any decision that Murthy and founders make, as one of high integrity and driven by a deep sense of purpose and values. He also maintained that as Murthy had denied this development, it should be put to rest.

“There is too much noise these days and it distracts from the business as we steer it to purposeful growth in an already challenging environment,” Sikka stated.

In the recent days, Infosys’ founder promoters including Murthy had expressed concerns over transparency and corporate governance under the leadership of the present management led by Sikka since their exit three years ago.

They had also raised concerns about the payment of Rs 17.38 crore severance package to former CFO Rajiv Bansal. From then onwards Murthy sought exit of Chairman R Seshasayee, saying that the board had failed in its fiduciary responsibility.

To douse the fire, Infosys management inducted Ravi Venkatesan as co-chairman and appointed law firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas to mediate between the founders.

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