The Web Sri Lanka In Focus

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Lanka govt scraps controversial TV deal

The controversial multi-million dollar deal signed with TEN Sports rpt TEN Sports for telecast rights of the cricket matches in the island country by the previous Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) interim committee has been scrapped by the government.
"I have instructed SLC to cancel the television contract last evening after receiving the finding of a special three-member committee," Sri Lankan Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge told PTI today.

The investigation committee was headed by the Secretary to the Ministry of Sports and Public Recreation S Liyanagama.

The decision terminates the deal involving two new agreements signed for providing TV rights for home matches from 2009 to 2012.

The current agreement with Taj Entertainment Network (TEN) would expire by the end of this year.

"The deal for the next three years has been cancelled and the previous agreement that lapses this year end will stand," Lokuge said adding the new agreements had been entered into without a mandate.

An independent committee was appointed by Lokuge to conduct a detailed inquiry to find out whether the previous SLC interim committee, headed by Jayantha Dharmadasa, had entered the deal without legal authority.

The Review Committee was asked to probe circumstances in which the controversial agreements were signed.

According to the SLC officials the decision to cancel the decision would be informed to Taj Television after which fresh bids will be invited.

Taj will, however, be entitled to participate in any tender that would be floated by the SLC for future TV rights.

Source: PTI

WNS acquires Aviva BPO for $230 mn

Warburg Pincus-controlled WNS Holdings on Tuesday acquired Aviva Global Services, the UK-based insurance giant’s captive BPO in India and Sri Lanka, for $230 million. WNS has beaten Aviva’s other vendors EXL and 24/7 Customer to clinch the deal.

The deal will also see WNS securing Aviva’s committed $1 billion outsourced work over an eight-year period. ET, in its edition dated June 2, had first reported on the impending transaction. WNS is expected to inform the US Securities Exchange Commission on Thursday.

WNS will fund the buyout through a $200 million line of credit from ICICI Bank, while Warburg, which owns 51% stake, will pump in around $30 million as equity contribution. This is one of the largest buyouts of a foreign captive BPO in India.

The buyout will bring over 6,500 employees of Aviva Global Services spread across Bangalore, Pune, Noida, Chennai and Colombo under the WNS fold.

WNS will be subcontracting part of the $1 billion deal with the other two vendors — EXL and 24/7 Customer. WNS, with a revenue of $459 million, has been aggressively looking at inorganic options to shore up its topline.

Meanwhile, 24/7 Customer has announced the transfer of 750 employees from its Aviva 24/7 centre in Chennai to Aviva Global Services as part of its “Build Operate Transfer” (BOT) contract. This is the second BOT contract that 24/7 Customer is executing for Aviva.

The first transfer was at the Bangalore facility, where 1,600 employees were transferred in January 2007. The Chennai centre has 750 employees servicing the Life and Motor insurance businesses of Aviva providing customer service, sales and finance and accounting operations.

Aviva had put its captive BPO operations in India and Sri Lanka on the block quite some time back. The bidding is also believed to have attracted the interest of global giants like Capgemini though this could not be confirmed independently.

Today’s deal also marks the first successful sale of a large BPO captive amidst raging debate on the long-term viability of captive units in view of escalating costs.

Source: indiatimes