Blackstone set to acquire VFS Global in third deal in three months
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Blackstone Capital Partners has agreed to acquire a majority stake in visa outsourcing and technology service provider VFS Global Services in what would be its third deal in three months.  

Blackstone  will acquire the stake from EQT Private Equity and Kuoni and Hugentobler Foundation (KHF).   

EQT Private Equity will remain indirectly invested in the Company with a minority position alongside Blackstone. Blackstone, as majority shareholder, and KHF, as minority shareholder, will be co-investors in the Company following the closing of the transaction, the companies said in a press release.  

"VFS spearheaded the visa outsourcing business and is today a global market leader, playing a crucial role in enabling access to travel for millions of people around the world in an efficient and secure manner. VFS’ local market expertise, unmatched global footprint and technology leadership makes the company a reliable partner to client governments across the world,” Lionel Assant, Europe head for Blackstone Private Equity  and Amit Dixit Asia Head of Blackstone Private Equity said.  

The company will use the funds to capitalise for further digitization  and expand into adjacent services, it said.  

Blackstone will be paying $1.12 billion for a 75% stake in VFS Global, a person familiar with the deal, asking to remain anonymous.  The enterprise value of the deal is $2.5bn, wherein the company has debt of around $1bn.  

EQT will hold 10% stake while Koni Foundation will hold the remaining 4% stake, the person added. 

VFS was founded in 2001 by Zubin Karkaria to provide  outsourcing and technology services platform for  applications for visa, passport and consular services to various governments.  
This is Blackstone’s second  billion dollar deal for Blackstone in two months  but the PE firm has been striking deals at a rapid pace over the past four months.  
Last month, it acquired wealth manager ASK Group  from Advent International for $1bn.  Blackstone also paid Rs 250 crore to acquire two wholly-owned subsidiaries, Goodluck Buildtech Pvt. Ltd and Anant Raj Hotels Ltd, from developer Tarc Ltd earlier in September.  

Before that Blackstone acquired a controlling stake in ed-tech startup Simplilearn for $250 mn in July after picking up a 5% stake in Think and Learn Pvt Ltd, the parent firm of Byju’s, in June.  Blackstone’s stake in the ed-tech firm came as a consequence of Byju’s acquiring Aakash Education Services in January this year.   
In April, three Blackstone funds also rolled over stakes in Mphasis Ltd earlier this year into a new fund.  

Blackstone has separately been waiting for a Securities Exchange Board of India approval for its acquisition of L&T Mutual Fund.  

The PE firm has already collected $5bn for its second Asia fund and invests in India via its global and Asia funds.  Its assets under management amount to over $50 bn in India. 

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