iGate CEO Phaneesh Murthy and Apax Partners co-head for India Shashank Singh have joined the board of Patni Computer Systems Ltd, replacing one of the co-promoters Gajendra Patni besides General Atlantic’s managing director William Grabe who have stepped down as part of the transition following joint purchase of majority stake of the firm by NASDAQ-listed iGate and buyout giant Apax.
This comes a month after the promoters along with decade-long private equity backer General Atlantic struck a deal to sell their entire stake worth a little over 60% (on a fully diluted basis) to iGate and Apax Partners for around $921 million. The iGate-Apax combine has already announced an open offer for a further 20% stake as per takeover norms that could take the total payout for the stake as high as $1.22 billion. The deal involves Apax investing around $480 million in iGate, which will also raise debt to acquire Patni.
Prior to the deal, Patni had a 13-member board of directors (including General Atlantic’s Abhay Havaldar who was an alternate director to William Grabe). Besides Gajendra, the other two Patni brothers Narendra and Ashok are also on the board and remain so as of now.
For the 47-year-old Murthy this marks a step forward in achieving scale for iGate. For the IIT-IIM graduate, who was Director of Infosys and Head – Sales & Marketing and Communication & Product Services (CAPS) when he resigned over an alleged sexual harassment case in July 2002, the key challenge would be to see through a far bigger business consolidation than what he supervised when his own start-up Quintant was snapped by iGate.
The big question is what happens to K Jeyakumar who was brought in as a professional CEO by Narendra Patni with huge fanfare around two years ago. An Australian citizen, Jeyakumar is the highest paid IT executive of a listed firm in the country and also has a board seat at Patni.
Shashank Singh, who will represent Apax at Patni, joined the buyout firm in 2004 and also helped set up the Indian office in 2007. He has been involved in the IT & Telecom vertical at Apax and has also seen through deals such as TIM Hellas(3rd largest mobile firm in Greece), Weather Investments (that has a portfolio of developed and developing markets mobile operators), TDC (telecoms operator in Denmark), Bezeq(telecoms operator in Israel) and Synetrix(network integrator in UK). The St Stephen’s college-Cambridge University-Harvard Business School grad had spent four years as strategy consultant for IT & telecoms at Monitor Company before joining Apax.