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Race for Apollo Global’s BPO arm IGT Solutions: Who is in the shortlist?

New York headquartered Apollo Global had purchased IGT Solutions three years back from Indigo Airlines owner InterGlobe Enterprises. Other than travel and hospitality, it also operates in segments like land transportation, logistics, and cargo, e-commerce, and gaming.

January 28, 2022 / 04:23 PM IST
Technology

Technology

A clutch of strategic suitors and bulge bracket private equity funds have been shortlisted for the ongoing sale process of InterGlobe Technologies ( now IGT Solutions) owned by private equity major Apollo Global Management, multiple sources in the know told Moneycontrol.

“ Around 5 players have been shortlisted for the next stage of the deal. French outsourcing major Teleperformance SE, Mumbai-based global BPO firm WNS Limited, KKR, PAG and Barings PE Asia are through and in the race now for acquiring the travel and hospitality focused IT & back-office player ” said one of the persons above.

On December 2nd, Moneycontrol was the first to report that the leading BPO and digital services firm had been put on the block by Apollo Global Management which had mandated investment banks Barclays and JP Morgan to find a buyer.

Read: PE major Apollo Global Management puts BPO firm IGT Solutions on the block, seeks $400-$500 million

The report had added that IGT Solutions was also seeing growth in segments beyond travel and hospitality.

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A second person confirmed the above list of 5 shortlisted suitors adding that post the completion of due diligence by the parties, binding bids are expected to be submitted in February.

“ The transaction has generated good level of interest and will reach an advanced stage by next month,” said a third person.

New York headquartered Apollo Global had purchased IGT Solutions three years back from Indigo Airlines owner InterGlobe Enterprises. During the earlier sale process which ended with Apollo Global emerging as the winner, reports indicated that the deal had attracted suitors like Tech Mahindra and private equity firms Everstone and Carlyle.

All the three persons above spoke to Moneycontrol on the condition of anonymity.

In response to an email query from Moneycontrol, Apollo Global Management, PAG, Barings PE Asia, KKR declined to comment. A spokesperson for WNS said , “As a matter of policy, WNS does not respond to any speculation.” Moneycontrol is awaiting a response from Teleperformance SE.

To be sure, in January 2019, AION Capital Partners, a joint venture between Apollo Global Management & ICICI Venture had acquired IGT Solutions with reports pegging the deal value at $230mn. In April 2020, both parties ended the nine-year-old joint venture to pursue investments independently and with respect to AION Capital investments, it was decided that the joint venture would continue to be advised by Apollo affiliates with inputs from ICICI Venture until the end of the term.

Back in July, Apollo Global Management had joined hands with private equity firm Synergy Metals Investments Holdings Ltd and invested up to Rs 1,500 crores in IPO-bound JSW Cement. Moneycontrol had first reported the deal talks on April 19.

Also Read: JSW Cement raises up to Rs 1,500 crore from PE firms Apollo Global Management, Synergy Metals Investments

A CLOSER LOOK AT IGT SOLUTIONS

According to its website, the firm was established in 1998 and employs more than 15,000 customer experience and technology specialists providing services to 75+ customers globally. IGT’s global footprint consists of 22 delivery centers in China, the Philippines, Malaysia, India, UAE, Romania, Indonesia, Spain, Colombia, and the USA.

The services of IGT Solutions include digital engineering, intelligent automation, data & analytics, digital CX centres, and CX transformation. Other than travel and hospitality, it also operates in segments like land transportation, logistics, and cargo, e-commerce, and gaming. It is led by CEO Vipul Doshi and Utsav Baijal , Head of India Private Equity at Apollo Global Management is part of the company’s board of directors.

Apollo Global Management, a leading global alternative asset manager, has offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Frankfurt, Madrid, Mumbai, New Delhi, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Tokyo. It had assets under management of approximately $481 billion as of September 30, 2021. The firm's Hybrid Value business provides flexible, tailored equity and debt capital solutions to private and public companies.

DEAL ACTIVITY? TECH THAT!

The BPO and IT sectors have seen a fair bit of deal activity in the last 12 to 15 months.

In March 2021, Startek, a global business process management firm, said it had pumped in $30 million in IT services and tech support firm CSS Corp in a limited partnership managed by its majority shareholder, Capital Square Partners.

Later in August, Hinduja Global Solutions (HGS), the BPO arm of diversified conglomerate Hinduja Group, announced the sale of its healthcare services business to bulge bracket private equity fund Barings Private Equity Asia for an enterprise value of $1.2 billion.

Read: Hinduja Global Solutions sells healthcare vertical to Barings PE Asia for $1.2 billion

In December, private equity firm Advent International acquired Encora, an Indian-origin IT services firm from rival Warburg Pincus for $1.5bn. Additionally, the Indian office of Blackstone made a partial exit via the Nasdaq listing of BPO firm TaskUs and clocked five-fold returns.

TRAVEL AND HOSPITALITY OUTLOOK FOR 2022

Speaking on the revival of the travel and hospitality segment and expected trends, Prashant Pitti, Co-Founder, EaseMyTrip said, “ We witnessed one of the best V-shaped recoveries for the industry post the second wave basis the positive travel sentiments across Indian travellers. As a company, we were almost near the pre-Covid levels. Unfortunately, the third wave halted this growth where due to the growing cases, multiple restrictions were established again. However, we believe that the industry will be back on the recovery track faster than expected as people are still carrying positive sentiments around travel basis trends like revenge travel and demand for unique, unexplored destinations and short weekend getaways will witness phenomenal growth.”

Another industry executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity said a strong rebound in air travel and return to pre-Covid levels can be expected by April –May. He added the hospitality segment may take longer to recover and is expected to hit pre-Covid levels by December.



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