Indian business process outsourcing services provider ICICI OneSource Ltd. has acquired a majority stake in US-based research and consulting firm Pipal Research Corp.
The deal was funded by the completion of its first round of funding last month, in which Singapore investment firm Temasek Holdings and WestBridge Capital provided cash (believed to be about $30 million) in exchange for new equity.
The Bangalore-based company, of which India’s largest bank ICICI Group holds a majority stake of about 60%, has not disclosed how much it is paying for its 51% stake of Pipal. The Chicago, Illinois-based company provides custom business research services to the professional services, finance and banking sectors.
ICICI OneSource offers offshore transaction processing and contact center services, using an offshore business model, backed up by sales centers in Virginia, US and London, UK. The company was built on the acquisition of CustomerAsset – a Bangalore-based contact center services company for $19.3 million in May 2002. The purchase started it off in the BPO market with 10 customers and 750 employees. It also gained a strong UK sales base, from where the company derives 65% of its revenue. It launched its US operations in August 2002, focusing on large and mid-sized banking, insurance and other financial services companies. In July last year it acquired FirstRing, another Bangalore-based contact center company, adding another 800 employees.
In terms of headcount, ICICI OneSource is now the largest Indian-owned BPO provider, following IBM’s $161 million purchase of Daksh eServices Pvt. Ltd. in April 2004. The company’s 4,200 Indian employees are based in its four development centers – three in Bangalore and one in Mumbai – but like its domestic competitors, it has plans to continue ramping up capacity and expects to have over 6,000 employees by the end of 2004. Because it is privately owned, it does not have to release profit figures, but has revealed that its sales for the financial year 2003-4 reached $42 million.