Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hero Honda

Hero Honda Motors is a respected company.
Honda Motors, the Japanese technology and name provider, is exiting the joint venture.
The press reports indicate that the Japanese partner will sell its stake to the Indian promoter (or his nominee, I suspect). The interesting thing is that the papers report that the Jap is selling the stake that is currently valued at nearly two billion dollars, at around one billion dollars.
So, is this a windfall to the promoters? And in the process, the 'other' sucker shareholders get the middle finger?
Fairness would have it that the shares could be offered to the other shareholders as a rights at some price. Alternatively, Honda should dump its shares in the market at the best possible price. Surely, Honda Motors is a listed co and they too would have some shareholder accountability?
Or is it that the exit is as per some pre agreed formula of yesteryears which was put on paper when the JV was formed? In this case, no one will cry.
Hero Honda is a valuable company with an amazing track record.
The Munjals have some explaining to do on how the deal is being put through.
If the media reports that they are picking it up at well below market price is true, it is only fair that the rewards be shared. The media reports also say that this bought out stake will be placed with PE investors.
Why go through this convoluted route? A simple rights issue would be the perfect thing to do.
Will the Indian media (which gets huge advertising revenues from Hero group) keep mum?

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