The stake sale in Mumbai-based software exporter Patni Computers may have run into another speedbreaker with private equity (PE) players Apax Partners and Blackstone -- which have been so far keen to pick up a stake in the IT services company -- backing out of the deal. The PE's have reportedly opted out due to differences of opinion over management control of the company.
had reported recently that the private equity firms were undecided over the inclusion of Ashok Patni and Gajendra Patni, who together hold 29.29 per cent stake in Patni on the company's board after they sell out. Apart from the brothers, private equity major General Atlantic Partners holds a 16.38 per cent stake, which it wants to sell off.
This effectively leaves Texas Pacific Group (TPG) as the only contender for the stake sale.
"We have heard that Apax and Blackstone have backed out of the race," said a source close to the development. A Patni spokesperson said: "The company cannot comment on specific intentions of individual investors. We have not received any notification from any of our large shareholders of their intent to offload any stake. As a policy, the company does not comment on speculation."
A clutch of private equity players like Apax Partners, Blackstone, and TPG have been eyeing a 12.91 per cent stake of the Patni brothers and the 16.38 per cent of General Atlantic Partners.
PE investors are refusing a berth on the board for both the Patni brothers since they fear unnecessary interference by them in management decisions.
Patni, despite being in the software business for almost three decades, has been losing ground to majors like TCS, Infosys, Wipro, Satyam and HCL in the last few years. Even mid-tier companies such as Mphasis and i-flex have sold their majority stakes to EDS and Oracle.