California-based boutique M&A advisory firm Martin Wolf, which operates as martinwolf, has entered India and set up its first office in Bangalore. It has also roped in Gaurav Sharma from the IBM Global Business Services to head the India practice for the firm. Sharma will be the senior vice-president.

Besides Bangalore, the firm has its operations based in Silicon Valley and focuses on mid-market IT services-based business models. Over the past 15 years, it has completed more than 115 IT services-related transactions in six countries and has active engagements in India, China, Europe and North America, according to its website.

“The move expands the firm’s India practice and builds on a growing number of transactions completed and in progress with Indian companies,” the company release stated.

The firm has advised India-related deals including Rolta India Ltd’s acquisition of TUSC (Oracle and Hyperion offerings), Saber Corporation’s recapitalisation with Accel-KKR (Oracle software and consulting) and Hinduja TMT’s acquisition of Affina (a US-based BPO).

According to the firm, it is already in talks with an IT service solutions provider and a security services provider for two more India-centric transactions.

Marty Wolf, president and founder of martinwolf, said, “The decision to expand our presence in India is driven by increased M&A activity among buyers and sellers in India, as well as between companies in India, the USA and other parts of the world. Especially in the IT services space, which is our focus, India has an established core competency that is increasingly appealing to companies outside India, seeking growth through acquisition.”

Sharma, its country head for India, has led the strategy and transformation practice of IBM Global Business Services in India and brings 16 years of experience in advising IT companies, business process outsourcing and enterprise applications on their M&A strategy. This is his second stint with martinwolf; he had also worked with the firm during 2005-2010. Sharma holds an MBA from Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.

“This is a critical time for IT companies in India as they integrate into the global marketplace – a process requiring diligence and rigor during the transaction and afterwards when buyers and sellers must develop and execute new strategies for the future. I know from my previous experience that martinwolf casts the widest net for acquisitions, and then through dozens of conversations and modelling with many perspective buyers, gets a clear understanding of which entity can do the most with an asset,” said Sharma.

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