Symphony to acquire 4-5 tech companies

Symphony Technology Group (STG) Chairman and CEO Romesh Wadhwani on Tuesday said his investment group is looking to add nearly four to five companies to steer annual group income to $5 billion.

Talking to reporters on the Symphony Technology Group (the investment group) forecast on technology for 2013 and its investment strategy, Wadhwani said the company has $1 billion in reserves to invest on new companies.

“I started (STG) nearly 10 years ago with the objective of investing in highly innovative and growth-oriented companies. Today, we have 12 group companies with an annual revenue of $2.5 billion. Our companies employ nearly 15,000 people, half of them in India.”

He said the group would touch $3 billion in the next few years, and is looking to acquire companies with firm focus on analytics, enterprise software and Internet to increase revenues up to $5 billion.

He said STG’s focus has always been on three key technology areas, pointing out that six of the group companies are into analytics, four into enterprise software and two into Internet.

“The next four to six companies we would invest in would be roughly in the same category. Once acquired, we will transform them into next generation companies,” Wadhwani said.

“(STG) is a private equity firm, but we don’t do debt equity. We’re very operationally engaged in the portfolio companies and help them drive growth,” he added, mentioning that none of the Symphony group companies had serious debt crises in the height of the 2008 recession.

As for investing in Indian companies, Dr Wadhwani said his group would prefer those in the US and Europe. “Our strategy is to acquire companies in the revenue range of $50-500 million,” he said.

“Indian companies are either too small or (in the case of public companies) too complex to acquire owing to regulatory issues. Our strategy, therefore, has been to acquire US and European companies and enable them to start Indian operations. We would still be prepared to acquire companies in India should we find the right target.”

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