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Infy closes in on $700 mn foreign acquisition

K V Kamath
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IT giant close to acquiring ’ health care business.

is close to acquiring the health care business of Thomson Reuters in a $700-750 million deal. This will be the largest acquisition by India’s second largest information technology services firm.

Sources close to the development say Infosys has emerged the front-runner for the deal and an announcement is expected shortly. Thomson Reuters, in the second quarter of 2011, had announced its intention to sell the health care business as it realigned the structure of its professional division. When contacted, an Infosys spokesperson said: “We do not comment on market speculation.”

In an email reply to Business Standard,  a spokesperson from Thomson Reuters said: "It is correct we have announced our decision to sell our healthcare business; however we have no comment to make on the process."

The health care unit is a provider of data, analytics and performance benchmarking solutions and services to companies, government agencies and health care professionals. While the revenues of the health care division were not available, the health care and science unit of Thomson Reuters had a revenue of $220 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2011.

Highly placed sources in a leading Indian IT services vendor, with knowledge of Thomson Reuters’ business, said apart from health care, the company’s risk division too was up for sale. “There were 14 contenders for those businesses, and the shortlisted ones should be announced next week.” Infosys has so far made smaller tuck-in acquisitions that have given it either access to a platform or an entry into a new services line. For instance, in 2009, the company acquired Atlanta-based for $58 million. That gave the company access to the insurance .

Since its inception, the only big ticket acquisition the company did was in 2006. Then it acquired Citicorp’s stake in Progeon for $115.13 million. The only other time it came close to a big-ticket deal was in 2008, but the target, Axon, was acquired by Delhi-based for GBP 440 million. The company had cash reserves of $3.8 billion (around Rs 16,969 crore) as of June 30, 2011.

Other than the health care unit, Thomson Reuters is selling two divisions. The firm has already sold BARBRI, a provider of bar exam preparatory workshops, courses, software, etc. Enterprise Risk, a business that provides risk management solutions to financial institutions, including banks, broker-dealers and hedge funds, is up for sale. The combined revenue of all these three units was $962 million at the end of 2010.

, the newly appointed chairman of Infosys, said recently the company needed to diversify beyond banking services, which contribute 35.4 per cent to the revenue. Infosys has maintained in the past that health care is a focus area for the company.

Health care, as a part of revenue contribution, was just about 1.1 per cent at the end of the quarter ended June 2011. When compared to its peers, this is minuscule. For instance, the Nasdaq-listed ’s revenue contribution from health care was 26 per cent at the end of the June quarter 2011. Health care grew 37 per cent year-on-year and 10.7 per cent on a sequential basis. In case of Bangalore-based Wipro, health care and life sciences and services contributed around 11 per cent to revenue. For , health care and life science accounted for about six per cent of revenue.

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