British Telecom (BT) has sold a 14.1% stake in Tech Mahindra for about Rs 1,395 crore, and is planning to sell further stake in the company, reports PTI (via Business Today).
The report states that British Telecom previously held 23.16% stake in the company. Following the current transaction, the UK-based company now holds 9.1% stake in Tech Mahindra, while its other co-promoter Mahindra & Mahindra continues to hold 47.57% stake in Tech Mahindra.
The deal: While we were not able to locate any relevant filing on the BSE or the NSE websites, the report states that British Telecom has sold 17.9 million shares at a average price of Rs 777.73 per share to institutional investors, through a series of open market transactions on both the exchanges. The deal was managed by JP Morgan and Credit Suisse. The shares of Tech Mahindra were trading at Rs 805 on the BSE and Rs 805.75 on the NSE at the time of writing this article.
Back in September 2011, reports had suggested that British Telecom was looking to sell its stake partially and had appointed Credit Suisse to look for potential buyers for its stake in Tech Mahindra. It was also apparently in talks with the private-equity firm Advent International to sell a partial stake, as indicated by a Wall Street Journal report. The deal however didn’t go through and Advent International had dismissed the development citing market speculations. It however turns out that British Telecom was waiting for the right market conditions to sell its stake in the company, as indicated by the Business Today report. That being said, British Telecom however noted that Tech Mahindra will remain as a key supplier to the company.
Comviva Acqusition: This development comes close on the heels of the Bharti-owned MVAS company Comviva’s proposed acquisition. Tech Mahindra was reportedly looking acquire the company for Rs 750 crore. It was also suggested that Tech Mahindra had completed its due diligence, agreed on the valuation, and has signed an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with Comviva.
While both Tech Mahindra and the Bharti spokespersons refused to comment on the development, citing market speculation, MediaNama sources had indicated that several meetings and an offsite between teams from both companies had taken place, and client meetings had also been initiated. This acquisition was supposed to give Tech Mahindra some sort of play in the VAS segment, when the segment itself is undergoing an upheaval of sorts with services declining in the country.
It would also give Comviva’s business which primarily surrounded around mobile payments and commerce in African regions. That being said, it was not clear as to what will happen to Tech Mahindra and Motorola’s jointly run VAS company CanvasM, after the Comviva acquisition.