To: Mohan Marette who wrote ( 108) 2/11/2000 11:32:00 AM From: SouthFloridaGuy Respond to of 494
ICICI plans holding co for its dotcoms along lines of CMGI Sourav Mukherjee & George Cherian MUMBAI 3 FEBRUARY IT IS clearly a case of mind over matter. ICICI is drawing up ambitious plans to float a new holding company for all its business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), consumer-to-consumer (C2C) dot.com ventures on the lines of US major CMGI Inc. The new company, which will initially be a 100 per cent subsidiary of ICICI, will subsequently raise funds through an international listing on Nasdaq and/or placement of equity shares to strategic foreign partners. Parent ICICI will, however, continue to directly hold stakes in all non-e companies within the group. The project is part of ICICI chief KV Kamath?s dream to become the czar of the Indian internet space and the largest domestic provider of finance and other skills to Indian brainpower. CMGI Inc, a Nasdaq-100 company, is in the business of creating and managing the largest and most diverse network of internet companies in the world. Compaq, Intel, Microsoft and Sumitomo hold minority positions in the US company. Among the 60-odd dot companies that CMGI has acquired or built include household names like AltaVista , HotLinks , Lycos , Engage , AdForce, Critical Path, NaviSite , Silknet Software, Chemdex , MotherNature and CarParts. These holdings are bunched into four sub-groups of marketing and advertising, content and community, e-commerce and enabling technologies companies. The new CMGI-type structure is aimed at unleashing maximum value from all its in-house portals and consolidating all internet-related companies within a more synergistic structure. This will, however, exclude ICICI Infotech which is more focused on providing all the technological backbone for the group. ICICI insiders said that an Indian CMGI has been on Kamath?s mind ever since he stepped on the gas a few months back to make ICICI the most e-friendly and e-exposed group in the country. This new-found avatar has already sent ICICI group shares on a roll with both the ICICI and ICICI Bank scrips touching new 52-week highs. ICICI has already announced the launch of a joint venture with Satyam Infoway for e-retailing ( icicisify.com ), a web trading portal ( icicidirect.com ) and an e-commerce payment gateway (in collaboration with a Compaq-led consortium). It is also drawing up plans to float a host of other financial and non-financial portals besides looking at acquisitions on this front. When contacted, ICICI officials were very tight-lipped on the move. However, analysts said that the move would help unleash immense shareholder value besides spread wealth across the group?s employees and shareholders. All ICICI group employees connected with the growth businesses are being compensated for their work through stock options in these companies. The unleashing of greater value through the holding company will also come as a boon to ICICI shareholders as all gains made by the new subsidiary would accrue to ICICI?s consolidated balance sheet. ?If ICICI?s strategy is closely monitored, it is making the best of all opportunities. Very soon its internet business will be valued several times over its traditional business of lending. At the same time, the presence of so many dot.com ventures will enable ICICI to cross-sell its products to a larger segment of netizens,? said an analyst.