Barclays takes stake in India's Intelenet

BANGALORE, India -- Barclays Bank PLC is to acquire a 50% stake in Intelenet Global Services Ltd., a business process outsourcing (BPO) company, from Mumbai, India-based HDFC Ltd., according to an HDFC statement.

Barclays will pay about $37 million for the stake in Mumbai-based Intelenet. After the acquisition, HDFC and Barclays will each hold a 50% share in the joint venture. Barclays, a London-based financial services conglomerate, is expected to bring significant international financial services expertise to Intelenet.

India's BPO industry is consolidating, with a number of recent high-profile acquisitions. IBM announced in April that it plans to acquire Daksh eServices Pvt. Ltd., a BPO company in Gurgaon, near Delhi. Earlier this year, Citigroup Inc. decided to increase its stake from 44% to 100% in e-Serve International Ltd., a Mumbai-based BPO company that has Citigroup entities worldwide as its only clients. Citigroup owns equity in the e-Serve through its subsidiary, Citibank Overseas Investment Corp.

Indian BPO companies need capital, brand and marketing muscle abroad to scale their businesses, and consolidation is expected to continue, according to Ravindra Datar, principal analyst for IT services and BPO at Gartner India Research and Advisory Services Pvt. Ltd in Mumbai.

Barclays already outsources some work to Intelenet, but currently that business accounts for about 100 of Intelenet's employees, said Susir Kumar, CEO of Intelenet. Business from Barclays is expected to grow, although Intelenet will operate as an independent third-party service provider, "rather than as a captive unit for Barclays," he said.

The acquisition is expected to be completed by October. HDFC, which held 50% equity in Intelenet, last month acquired the remaining 50% from joint venture partner, Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., a software and services company in Mumbai.

Intelenet has more than 4,300 employees and 19 clients. Its client list includes U.S. and U.K. companies that have outsourced voice, back office and accounting processes. Intelenet serves clients across the banking, insurance, credit cards, telecom, retail and hospitality industries.

Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.

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