afaqs!

ORG-MARG to go public by year end

Mumbai-based market research agency ORG-Marg plans to go for a public issue by the end of this year

agencyfaqs! News Bureau
Mumbai

Mumbai-based market research agency ORG-Marg plans to go for a public issue by the end of this year. Confirming this in Mumbai on Tuesday, Peter Tordoir, chief of VNU, the Dutch information service provider, told reporters, "We plan to enter the market as soon as the market revives."
However, Tordoir declined to talk about the percentage of equity ORG-MARG plans to offer the public. The Dutch company also plans to infuse substantial funds into the Indian company. Once again Tordoir declined to reveal precisely how much. He just said that VNU will provide all the necessary support required by the Indian company.
Tordoir clarified that Dutch information services giant would not have any representative on the ORG-Marg board. He said, "We have full confidence in the current management. The day-to-day operations can be well handled by it. Therefore, we feel it is not necessary to add any VNU representative to the board."
To put things into perspective, VNU recently acquired a majority stake in ORG-Marg by buying out the 50.2 per cent stake held by the Business India group for a consideration of around $22 million. With this, the $2.8-billion Dutch information services giant 's stake in ORG-MARG has gone up from 35 per cent to 85.2 per cent. The remaining 14.8 per cent will continue to be held by Titoo Ahluwalia, chairman and CEO of ORG-Marg.
Following the sale of equity, Ashok Advani, head of the Business India group, and his brother Rajkumar Advani resigned from ORG-Marg's board of directors. So did marketing expert Shunu Sen, analyst Dorab Sopariwala and chartered accountant P R Khanna.
Earlier, the Advanis had sought to buy out the VNU stake. As per the agreement entered into by the two parties last year, either of the two major shareholders could exercise the option of buying out the other. The agreement came to an end on March 31 this year. The deadline was subsequently extended by another month, giving the Advanis time to make a bid for the VNU stake.
Their attempt to pick up the VNU stake, however, evoked a storm of protest from the agency's employees. Several senior managers went to the extent of threatening to quit the research outfit if VNU did not acquire majority control.
Post equity restructuring, ORG-Marg plans to focus on two key areas: TV audience rating and research on the Internet. The Dutch company expects ORG-Marg to serve as the base for the Asian region. Tordoir said, "There is a tremendous growth opportunity in India and we expect a major expansion this year by opening subsidiaries in other Asian countries.
© 2000 agencyfaqs!