Birmingham lawyers at DLA Piper have played a pivotal role in a contested takeover by an Indian technology company, in a deal which cements the Midlands’ growing links with the subcontinent.
HCL Technologies, advised by a large DLA Piper team headed by corporate partner John Campion, this week completed the £441million takeover of Surrey software consultants Axon Group plc, beating an offer from Infosys Technologies.
HCL is a global IT services company, listed in India where it has its headquarters. It provides a variety of software-led IT solutions, remote infrastructure management and business process outsourcing services through its global network of offices.
The HCL Group employs over 55,000 professionals and has annual revenues of approximately $2billion.
Infosys made a 600p per share bid in August for Axon, which valued the group at £407million, but it was subsequently trumped by HCL’s 650p offer.
Founded in 1994, Axon Group provides consultancy services to multinationals and has about 2,000 employees in Britain, North America, Malaysia and Australia.
For the year ending December 31, 2007, Axon reported pre-tax profits of £29.5million on revenues of £204.5million.
HCL’s approach was originally launched as a conventional takeover offer but was switched to a scheme of arrangement – a court approved agreement between a company and its shareholders – once it achieved the recommendation of the Axon board.
The offer was financed from a combination of HCL’s own resources and loan facilities arranged by Standard Chartered.
Mr Campion said: “We are very pleased to have acted for HCL on such a strategic transaction. The switch to a scheme of arrangement while the existing scheme of arrangement proposed by Infosys was still in play threw up a number of new issues which required detailed consultation with the Takeover Panel.”
Verinder Khashu, legal counsel of HCL, said: “It was a pleasure working with DLA Piper on this transaction. We benefited immensely from their experience and support through this process.”