Warburg Pincus acquires WNS stake

British Airways has sold a 70 per cent stake in its business process outsourcing business to the US private equity firm.

Warburg Pincus (WP), the international private equity investor,  has announced the acquisition of a 70 per cent stake in Speedwing World Network Services, the business process outsourcing (BPO) subsidiary of British Airways. The firm, which will be re-named World Network Services (WNS), is one of the largest BPO companies in the UK and India.

The financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed, although Jeremy Young, business services partner at WP in London, said that the firm was willing to invest in the region of £200m to establish WNS as a global leader in BPO. “We are looking to grow the firm organically as well as through acquisitions. We are currently looking at a deal in the UK, although it is in the US that we could really see major growth.”

Warburg Pincus estimates the BPO sector to be worth $110bn annually, with year on year growth of around 20 per cent. Young added that WNS's established presence in the sector, coupled with its reputation and branding, will make it a strong candidate to profit from advances in technology that will enable the firm to employ high quality staff around the world at low cost.

Warburg Pincus is investing in WNS from its European funds, primarily the Warburg Pincus International and Warburg Pincus Equity funds. Warburg Pincus’ European funds have a combined total value of $7.5bn, which is the largest pool of private equity capital in Europe. The firm invests across business services, communications, financial services, healthcare and life sciences, IT and media.