Wipro Ltd, India's third-biggest software exporter, is expected to bid for France's Capgemini by the end of January, the Hindustan Times said on Monday citing unnamed sources.
The report pushed up Capgemini shares, which were the top gainers on France's benchmark CAC-40 index.
Capgemini shares were up 6.9 per cent at 43.50 euros in early morning trade -- the stock's highest level since early November.
Citigroup and HSBC have been in discussions to finalise a plan before the year-end holidays, it said, citing investment banking sources.
"Details about leveraged buyout financing and other options were discussed," it quoted a banker close to the deal as saying.
Wipro's bid for Europe's largest computer consultancy firm could be close to 48 euros per share, the paper said. The stock closed at 40.71 euros in Paris on Friday, valuing the company at 5.9 billion euros ($8.5 billion).
"We would not want to comment on market speculation. Of course, we are interested in larger deals and aggressively looking for inorganic growth options," Sudip Nandy, chief strategic officer of Wipro, told the paper.
Asked to comment about the report on the possible Wipro bid, a Capgemini spokeswoman in Paris said: "We do not comment on market rumour."
Speculation has persisted for several months about a possible bid by Wipro, as well by larger rival Infosys Technologies.
Capgemini said in July it was not planning to sell its IT consulting arm and that it had not been in contact with Infosys.
Indian software firms are looking for overseas acquisitions, especially in Europe, to help offset a stronger rupee and a skills shortage at home, and to service clients outside their English-speaking core market.
Based on latest prices, Capgemini shares have fallen by around 8 per cent since the start of 2007 -- underperforming a flat performance in the DJ Stoxx European technology sector. (Reuters)
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