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Not all in the family

A private equity player appears set for a foothold in Patni.

By Anusha Subramanian | Print Edition: July 1, 2007

Patni computer systems, India's sixth largest it services company, looks set to have some new investors. Rumours have been rife that two of the Patni brothers, Ashok K. Patni and Gajendra K. Patni, who hold 14.79 and 14.42 per cent as of March 31, 2007 respectively in the company, are selling their stake to foreign investors.

Replying to an e-mailed questionnaire, Narendra K. Patni, Chairman & CEO, Patni Computer Systems, says: "AKP and GKP are large shareholders, and like any other shareholder; they are free to sell their shares. In fact, they have been selling shares in the market from time to time and have sold approximately 6 million shares since the IPO." The Patni family controls 44 per cent of the company, whilst foreign institutional investors hold 22 per cent.

Narendra Patni:
Narendra Patni:
 

The Chairman made it clear to BT that he wasn't averse to investment, via private equity. "Leading global private equity firms have shown an on-going interest in the company.

If and when a stake becomes available, I believe that the right PE investor could help build an unparalleled platform for value creation. The investor could add substantial value to the company through their experience and the IT business that could be generated from their portfolio companies," explains Patni.

Names of PE players like the Carlyle Group and the UK-based Apax Partners have been doing the rounds as possible suitors. Carlyle officials in India refused to comment, and Apax, which recently started its India operations, wasn't available for comment.

Ashok Patni, Executive Director at the company, insists that there's too much speculation and "I am not willing to comment any further on the issue." However, a new partner at Patni appears only a matter of time.

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