An Indian-American couple Bharat Desai and Neerja Sethi have sold their US-based IT firm Syntel to French IT major Atos for $3.4 billion (approx. Rs. 23,120 crore) or $41 per Syntel share, in an all-cash deal.
Syntel was founded by the husband and wife duo of Desai and Sethi in 1980 with an investment of $2000. The company now has over 22,000 employees, 18,000 of whom are based out of India.
On speaking about this deal, Thierry Breton, Chairman and CEO of Atos said:
“In particular, the highly complementary portfolio, customer base, and geographic footprint of the combination between Atos and Syntel will significantly enhance our presence in North America and accelerate the digital transformation of Atos’s customers worldwide,”
Before starting Syntel
Desai was born in Kenya, grew up in Mombasa and in Ahmedabad. He did a degree in electrical engineering from IIT Bombay and worked with TCS where his salary at a salary of Rs. 769 a month. He decided to move to the US to complete an MBA from the University of Michigan. Neerja had done an undergraduate degree in Mathematics and a Masters Degree in Computer Science from India. After completing a second Masters in Computer Science from Oakland University, Sethi worked for TCS where she met Desai and started Syntel.
Early days of Syntel
Syntel managed to make $30,000 in its first year and the first boost when General Motors (GM) became a client of the company in 1982. Syntel generated $924 million revenue in the 2017 financial year, out of which 89% was in North America, with 25 percent operating margin.
According to Forbes’ reports, Desai has a net worth of $1.6 billion, while Sethi is ranked 21st on the list of the richest self-made women in the US. Desai feels proud laking the tough decision of leaving TCS, “I always wanted to run a business of my own. I was a horrible employee and could not live by anyone else’s rules,” he said at an entrepreneur event in 2013 in Delhi. “So the best way was to start my company. My wife is the toughest board member” he added.