In its largest investment in India, private equity firm Blackstone acquired a majority of the offshore and India private sector Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) operations of British outsourcing firm Serco, for 250 million pounds (Rs 2,558 crore), including debt and equity. The main element of these businesses is the former Intelenet business that Blackstone had sold to Serco for $634 million in 2011.
This deal marks the re-entry of Blackstone into the BPO business space. In March, Serco set out on its strategy to focus on being a leading supplier of public services. A core part of that strategy included a decision to sell our private sector BPO operations.
The business expects annual revenues of about Rs 2,405 crore for this year. The company has 51,000 full-time employees across 67 centres in eight countries. The private sector BPO business provides a range of middle and back office services, and has a strong customer base of international organisations, predominantly across the financial services, insurance, telecoms, travel and health care sectors. Post the change in ownership, the business will be rebranded and revived as Intelenet Global.
"We are excited to embark on the Intelenet 2.0 journey and delighted to once again partner with the company's management team. The business grew four times when we were partners with Intelenet earlier. We were able to get seven of Blackstone portfolio companies as Intelenet’s companies clients. Intelenet 1.0 was a phenomenal success and we want to repeat that,” said Amit Dixit, senior managing director and co-head of private equity in India at Blackstone.
Dixit says the company’s leading positions in financial services and travel can be leveraged to get more customers.
The sale is expected to be completed by December and under the terms of the transaction, the business will continue to be led by Susir Kumar, and the existing management team. “We have retained almost all of our clients and key staff that we have had since our inception and look forward to continuing to add value to them. We will shortly be working on a strategy that will enable us to significantly enhance our offering to existing customers and prospects,” says Susir Kumar, CEO, Serco Global Services.
Marquee PE giant Blackstone has been investing in India since 2005 and has invested over $3 billion in private equity and real estate here.