Indian acquirers on the go

Announcing its largest deal ever, Indian systems integrator Infosys offered $753m in cash on Monday for SAP consultancy Axon Group. The deal is seen as a way for Infosys to build up its consulting business as well as its sales in Europe, where the UK’s Axon gets roughly 60% of its revenue. Pending shareholder and regulatory approval, the acquisition is slated to close in November. Some Axon shareholders, however, are holding out for more. Shares of the company on the London Stock Exchange have traded above Infosys’ offer price since the deal was announced.

Infosys’ acquisition of Axon would be the second-largest purchase by an Indian services shop, trailing only Covansys India’s $3.2bn purchase of business process outsourcing firm Fortune Infotech in 2005. In addition, the deal would bring to more than 60 the number of deals by Indian acquirers so far this year. That’s up from less than 20 per year in the first part of this decade. Meanwhile, M&A spending by Indian companies is likely to hit its highest level since 2005. Already this year, shoppers have spent $1.8bn on deals, which is within striking distance of the $2.1bn spent in all of 2007. This year’s M&A total will inch even closer to that tally if Axon shareholders succeed in pressing Infosys to up its offer.

Deals by Indian acquirers

Period Deal volume Deal value
Jan.-Aug. 2008 57 $1.8bn
Jan.-Dec. 2007 86 $2.1bn
Jan.-Dec. 2006 78 $672m
Jan.-Dec. 2005 38 $3.7bn
Jan.-Dec. 2004 7 $104m
Jan.-Dec. 2003 8 $132m
Jan.-Dec. 2002 16 $228m

Source: The 451 M&A KnowledgeBase