The outsourcing provider Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. expects to boost its sales to banks by purchasing the Indian technology operations of UBS AG.
Cognizant, a Teaneck, N.J., supplier of information technology consulting and technology services, said it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire UBS India Service Center Private Ltd. from the Zurich banking company.
Prasad Chintamaneni, a Cognizant senior vice president and head of its banking and financial services practice, said the acquisition would bring a major new contract — with UBS — and new capabilities that his company can offer to other bank clients.
"We already service UBS in a smaller way. This allows us to service them in a larger capacity," he said in an interview Friday.
The unit provides high-end technology development and management services to several UBS units around the world, including business process outsourcing, knowledge process outsourcing and remote infrastructure management services.
In particular, the center has capabilities in wealth management, investment banking and asset management research, including global foreign exchange and equities research. Chintamaneni said Cognizant plans to offer these capabilities to other financial companies.
"We don't have the level of capability today to showcase that kind of experience," he said. "This, in that sense, is very strategic."
Chintamaneni said that taking on a team that has already proven it can work for a major financial company would help Cognizant market its services in the banking industry. "The acquisition of these assets is necessary to enhance our credentials" with other clients.
Cognizant said in a regulatory filing that it would pay about $75 million for the Hyderabad center, which it described as a "captive service provider," and would take on its 2,000 employees.
As part of the deal, Cognizant and UBS signed a five-year services agreement that could generate as much as $442 million of revenue for Cognizant. The deal was announced last week and is expected to close around yearend.
Cognizant was ranked No. 12 in American Banker's 2008 FinTech 100 listing. The company said that 47% of its $2.1 billion revenue in 2007 came from the financial industry.
UBS said the decision to sell off its Indian technology operation was the result of a yearlong evaluation of its offshoring strategy. "This outsourcing transaction will further improve UBS' efficiency and flexibility," said Ulrich Korner, UBS' group chief operating officer, in a prepared statement.
Anshuman Jaswal, an analyst at the Boston research company Celent, a part of Oliver Wyman Group, a New York consulting unit of Marsh & McLennan Cos., said UBS' move to sell follows a trend by other financial companies such as Citigroup Inc., along with nonfinancial companies such as Aviva, British Airways and Conseco.
"These companies are trying to achieve two main goals. The first is to concentrate on their core business and the second is to reduce their costs. The latter need has been exacerbated by the credit crunch," Jaswal said by e-mail. "Hence, while this is the resumption of an earlier outsourcing trend, there is also an added dimension due to the downturn."
In December of last year, Citi sold its own captive business process outsourcing operation, Citigroup Global Services Ltd., to the Mumbai technology provider Tata Consultancy Services for $512 million. Citi also signed a nine-and-a-half-year contract to outsource work to Tata, valued at $2.5 billion.