New Delhi: India’s fifth largest software services firm by revenues, HCL Technologies Ltd (HCL), said Friday evening that it has made a £441.1 million (Rs3,767 crore) cash counter-offer for UK-based Axon Group Plc.—a month after Infosys Technologies Ltd announced it would buy the UK firm for £407 million.

“We see Axon as...(a) transformational opportunity for HCL to become a significant player in the SAP services space," HCL chief executive Vineet Nayar said in a statement.

In a statement released after HCL’s bid, Infosys said it “is considering its position and urges Axon shareholders to take no action at this time". It added that a “further announcement will be made in due course".

Indian IT services firms such as Infosys and HCL are expanding in Europe, Asia and Latin America to reduce their dependence on the US market, which accounts for around two-thirds of their revenue.

Axon provides consulting services to companies that have chosen to use business software from SAP AG. Such so-called SAP consulting is a significant business for HCL.

HCL said it arranged a loan of £400 million from banks and had cash to cover the rest.

Harit Shah, an analyst at Angel Broking, said at first sight “the development is negative for Infosys".

He added that he could comment further only after looking at details.

Axon’s spokesperson couldn’t be reached for comment. The company had recommended that its shareholders accept Infosys’ offer. Television channel CNBC TV 18 claimed, without citing anybody, that Axon would not entertain any competing offers to that of Infosys’.

HCL’s bid of 650 pence a share is 8.3% higher than Infosys’ 600 pence. Soon after news of the counterbid broke, Axon shares touched 674 pence, up 6.3%, in intra-day trading in London.

Bloomberg contributed to this story.