Teleperformance of France Buying LanguageLine for $1.52 Billion

  • Call-center operator acquiring video-translation company
  • Sees deal as adding to earnings; closing planned by year-end

Teleperformance SA, a French call-center operator, is adding online phone and video translation by acquiring LanguageLine Solutions LLC for $1.52 billion from a U.S. private-equity firm.

Paris-based Teleperformance, which has customers in industries including health care, insurance, banking and retail, said in a statement Monday it’s buying LanguageLine of Monterey, California, from Abry Partners and other investors in a debt-financed deal.

LanguageLine’s Insight product can pair customer-support representatives with one of 8,000 interpreters via video link so they can have translated conversations in 240 languages including Chinese, Spanish, French, German and Arabic, according to LanguageLine’s website. Digitizing customer-relationship management and communicating with consumers around the world is gaining importance as businesses become more global in reach.

Shares of Teleperformance gained as much as 10 percent in Paris and were up 6.2 percent at 87.53 euros as of 1:01 p.m.

Teleperformance expects to complete the purchase by year-end and predicts it will add about 10 percent to pro-forma earnings this year. LanguageLine was founded in 1982 and had revenue of $388 million and adjusted profit of $147 million last year. It has customers in health care, insurance, banking and government.

Credit Suisse Group AG and Morgan Stanley acted as financial advisers to LanguageLine Solutions and Kirkland & Ellis LLP as legal adviser. Credit Agricole SA, HSBC Bank and Societe Generale SA are providing debt financing.

Abry Partners bought LanguageLine for $720 million in 2004 and ended attempts to sell or list the company in 2010.

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