IGate, Apax close to Patni Computer stake buy: Source

IGate, Apax close to Patni Computer stake buy: Source

Mumbai: A consortium of private-equity firms Apax Partners and iGate are close to buying 63% of Patni Computer, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Monday, in a deal valued at about $915 million.

The Apax-iGate consortium has offered about Rs500 a share for the stake, the source said, adding that a deal would likely be announced early next week.

Patni shares were trading at Rs488.50 on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on Monday.

The consortium, which beat a rival team of Carlyle, Advent International and Akansa Capital to the deal, will make an open offer for another 20% stake in Patni following the agreement, the source said.

The iGate-Apax consortium is taking a loan of about $500 million to fund the deal, the source said.

Patni, iGate and Carlyle were not immediately available for comment.

The founding Patni brothers are selling their 46% stake, while private equity firm General Atlantic is selling its roughly 17% holding in the software services exporter, sources have previously told Reuters.

Talks to sell a stake in Patni have been going on for about two-year, but Patni had failed to seal a deal due to valuation gaps with potential buyers, sources had previously said.

Private equity activity is surging in India, with $6.57 billion invested in the first three quarters of 2010, more than double the $2.5 billion invested during the same period last year, according to Venture Intelligence, a research firm.

Private-equity firms typically make minority investments in India, where entrepreneurs are often reluctant to sell out and where full buyouts are rare.

Patni, a mid-sized IT services firm also listed in New York, provides technology outsourcing services to industries such as insurance, telecom, utilities and retail.

Small and mid-cap Indian IT companies have been grappling with tepid demand, high attrition rates and a rise in expenses, resulting in reduced profitability for some.