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Oracle in talks to buy Citi's stake in i-flex

27 July 2005  |  6308 views  |  0 i-flex

Oracle is in talks to buy Citigroup's controlling stake in Indian banking software vendor i-flex solutions in a deal that could be worth more than $650m, according to a Financial Times report.

Citing people close to the situation, the FT says Citigroup's private equity unit has been looking to sell the 43.1% stake in i-flex for several months, a move that would mark the end of a 20-year link between the US bank and the Indian IT company.

According to the report, Citigroup has received 'expression of interests' from several companies, including IBM. But Oracle is now thought to be the only one left in the running.

The deal would be a significant expansion for Oracle in the banking software market. I-flex's core banking software is the world's best-selling, ahead of systems from vendors such as Misys and Temenos. The Indian company has serviced over 540 customers in more than 110 countries.

I-flex was orignally an internal Citigroup IT unit set up in 1985. The company was spun off on the Mumbai bourse in 2002 and its shares have more than trebled since the listing. Foreign investors, aside from Citigroup, own around 13% of the firm.

The FT report says Citigroup is also considering selling its 44% stake in Polaris Software, a financial IT company based in Chennai, India, although further details of the potential sell-off were not given.

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