The race for Firstsource Solutions seems to becoming interesting every week. Now ICICI Venture has tied up with US-based Providence Equity Partners to put in a joint bid for Firstsource, according to this report.

More interesting part is that ICICI Venture is also trying to get global buyout giant Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co (KKR) to join the consortium. Earlier this week, US-based technology banking group Metavante put its 20% stake in Firstsource on the block and has appointed Goldman Sachs as its investment banker. Warburg Pincus has a 25% stake in Metavante, and it also controls India's second largest BPO WNS Holdings.

Firstsource and ICICI Venture are both promoted by the ICICI Group. Firstsource has a market capitalisations of Rs 1837 crore and its share price was Rs 43 at close of trading on Friday. Providence has invested over $1 billion in Aditya Birla Telecom (ABTL)—a wholly-owned subsidiary of Idea Cellular.

The biggest shareholder in Firstsource is ICICI Bank, which holds around 25% stake. Another big stakeholder is Singapore's Temasek, which holds a little more than 21% stake. Sequoia Capital and hedge fund Galleon Partners together hold about a 9% stake.

Blackstone, which controls Mumbai-based BPO Intelenet, will also be interested in Firstsource as it could look at a reverse merger with Firstsouce and list the combined entity of Firstsource and Intelenet.

If KKR, Providence and ICICI Venture consortium works out, it would bee first time in India that three large PE players come together for an acquisition. There have been some big consortium PE deals  across the world. KKR and Bain Capital, together with Merrill Lynch and others, acquired hospital company HCA for $33 billion. Then again KKR, along with  Apax Partners, Providence and Permira acquired Danish phone compnay TDS for $15.3 billion. Also in 2006, Apollo Management along with Texas Pacific Group, bought out US casino operator Harrah's for $17.1 billion.

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