Friday, 29 June 2007

Infosys to buy Capgemini?

Capgemini shares rose 3.7% on rumour that Indian S/ITS player Infosys would make a bid. Capgemini has had a pretty good run of late with its share price up around 50% in the last year and c15% in 2007 so far. It has a current market cap of Euro7.9billion.
Capgemini has been building its presence in India organically at a fast rate. But this was greatly accelerated with the purchase of Kanbay for $1.25 in Oct 06. They added Indigo - the captive BPO arm of Unilever India - recently. By inorganic and organic growth, Capgemini expects to have over 23,000 employees in India by 2010.
Of course, both Capgemini and Infosys dismissed the rumours as "speculation".
Specuation that the Indian players would "Buy Big" in Europe (even the US) havs been rife for years. The Indian players have much higher relative valuations than their US or European peers and are therefore seen as having the resources to pull off some impressive M&A. But so far they have only undertaken small, focussed, IPR-led acquisitions in Europe.
Infosys is far more profitable and has a much higher ROCE than Capgemini. For that reason, investors would probably flee Infosys in droves if they actually consummated such a deal. That's why the unanimous view of the analysts I trust out there say "Never, never, never".
The Indian players seem to be having little trouble in gaining market share by impressive organic growth in Europe. Why put all of that at risk by a mega acquisition of a low margin business?
Regardless, with TCS very likely to enter the Top Ten player lists soon, the S/ITS landscape in Europe is changing beyond recognisition anyway.

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