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Patni stake sale buzz gets stronger
The buzz surrounding Patni Computer Services’ stake sale by its promoters and private equity (P/E) players is getting stronger.

Investment banking sources say the three Patni brothers have now agreed on the sale process, along with private equity player General Atlantic (GA). All three brothers (including Narendra Patni) hold close to 16 per cent stake each in the company and GA holds 18 per cent.

“Earlier Narendra Patni was reluctant to part with his share but this time around even he is a part of the deal, which makes the stake sale imminent. One reason, perhaps, is that he is no longer involved in the day-to-day operations of the company any more,” said a senior investment banking executive.

A couple of days earlier, the other two brothers, Gajendra Patni and Ashok Patni, sold close to 0.6 per cent in Patni in the open market for a total value of Rs 39 crore.

While sources close to the development said the deal could get finalised by January, valuations could be a hurdle. “One of the demands of the brothers is that they get a higher premium than what GA gets. This might take some time for reaching a consensus. They would look at a price upwards of Rs 550 per share,” said another source.

Companies interested in acquiring a stake in the Mumbai-based company include Japan-based Fujitsu, NTT and L&T Infotech. An email sent to the company remained unanswered. Meanwhile, the promoters have started to sell their shares in the open market. PE companies Apax Partners and Tech Pacific Group were interested in buying the stake on offer in 2007, when the two brothers were offering their 12 per cent stakes, in addition to about 12.9 per cent offered by General Atlantic. The company’s stock closed at Rs 442.95, down 3.73 per cent from the previous close of Rs 460.

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