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Wipro, Copal mull Lehman BPO buyout

By Abhineet Kumar in Mumbai
September 17, 2008 02:26 IST
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IT major Wipro Technologies and Gurgaon-based knowledge process outsourcing firm Copal Partners have expressed interest in bidding for the Indian back office business of Lehman Brothers Holdings, the US-based investment banking firm that filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday.

Lehman is expected to close its captive unit in Powai, a Mumbai suburb, by the end of this month. The unit's 1,200 employees, who work on equity research and analytics support for the mergers and acquisitions business, have been orally told to quit by September-end. They have also been informed that they will be paid only for this month, which will be treated as a severance package.

Investment banking sources said Wipro and Copal have been looking at buying opportunities in this space for some time. Though the Lehman BPO unit does not have an anchor client it may help them quickly scale up the business.

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Wipro declined to comment and Rishi Khosla, co-founder and chief executive officer of Copal, could not be reached.

Copal Partners already has clients in industries such as investment banking, equity research, credit research, and strategy consultancy.

Unlike employees in Lehman's investment banking business, who have been receiving feelers from domestic banks, employees in the captive BPO are unlikely to find alternative jobs quickly because the IT and IT-enabled services industries have already begun downsizing, owing to the global financial crisis.

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Abhineet Kumar in Mumbai
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