technology

Elliott Buys Tiny Stake in Wipro in First India IT Firm Holding

  • The hedge fund owns 1.855 million ADRs or about a 0.04% stake
  • Elliott owns over 4% of Cognizant, which has an India presence

Billionaire Paul Singer’s Elliott Management Corp. has bought a stake in Wipro Ltd., its first ever purchase of an Indian-based software outsourcer.

The New York hedge fund acquired 1.855 million American depositary receipts, or about 0.04 percent of Wipro’s share capital, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission.

Though tiny when compared with Elliott’s stake of more than 4 percent in rival Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp., which has the bulk of its operations in India, the holding in Wipro gives the fund another foothold in the nation’s $167-billion IT services industry at a time its main players are re-tooling to shore up margins amid tighter client budgets.

Elliott is known for shaking up companies. At Cognizant, it pushed for a board re-shuffle and a $3.4 billion return of capital to shareholders, setting off a wave of dividend and share buyback announcements among its IT peers. In recent years, its dispute with aluminum parts maker Arconic Inc. contributed to the resignation of Chief Executive Klaus Kleinfeld, and its activism helped spur changes at Australian mining giant BHP Billiton Ltd.

Billionaire founder Azim Premji owns over 73 percent of Bangalore-based Wipro. The company declined to comment on the purchase by Elliott.

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