India's HCL Outbids Infosys for Axon

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Indian outsourcer HCL Technologies has outbid larger rival Infosys Technologies for Axon Group, a U.K. vendor of SAP-related consulting and services.

HCL announced Friday that it has made a cash offer for Axon that values its entire issued and to-be-issued share capital at £441.1 million (US$817 million).

In August, Infosys made a cash offer to acquire Axon in a deal valued at £407.1 million.

HCL is now offering 650 pence in cash for each Axon share in contrast to 600 pence per share offered by Infosys.

For both HCL and Infosys, the acquisition of Axon would help increase business in Europe, even as there are concerns that the economic downturn in the U.S. could severely affect their business, because they generate most of their revenue from U.S. clients. Axon gets about 55 percent of its revenue from the U.K., with North America accounting for 34 percent of revenue.

Axon also has some key clients such as Xerox to which the Indian outsourcers can cross-sell their other services.

While noting the announcement made earlier in the day by HCL Technologies, Infosys said in a statement on Friday that it is considering its position, and urged Axon's shareholders to take no action at this time.

Under the terms of the agreement with Infosys, Axon undertook that, in the event of a competing proposal being received from a third party, Axon's board would not vary or amend its recommendation of the Infosys offer for a period of 60 hours from the time Infosys was notified of the competing proposal, Axon said on Friday.

Infosys was notified of the HCL proposal on Friday. After the 60-hour period has elapsed, the Axon board will meet to consider all proposals that it has received and will seek to maximize value for its shareholders, Axon said.

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