Genesys in bid to buy Avaya's call centre business

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Genesys in bid to buy Avaya's call centre business

Would create telephony powerhouse.

US call centre software provider Genesys is in talks to acquire the contact centre business its peer Avaya is hoping to sell for more than US$4 billion (A$5.2 billion).

The deal would create a call centre technology powerhouse in the face of intensifying competition from Cisco Systems, Huawei and Mitel Networks.

The sale would also see Avaya, one of the world's biggest providers of telephony systems, shed a major part of its business to cope with its debt pile, which has grown to US$6 billion.

Genesys is one of many companies and private equity firms that have contacted Avaya about a potential deal, and there is no certainty that it will successfully negotiate a deal, people familiar with the matter said.

The sources asked not to be identified because the negotiations are confidential. Genesys and Avaya declined to comment.

A deal for Avaya's contact centre business, which powers the customer care and sale operations of some of the world's biggest companies, would come on the heels of a US$900 million investment by buyout firm Hellman & Friedman LLC in Genesys last month.

That deal, which saw Hellman & Friedman join Permira Advisers LLP and Technology Crossover Ventures as investors in the company, valued Genesys at US$3.8 billion, including debt. Genesys has more than 4700 customers in 120 countries.

Avaya provides software, hardware and cloud services to businesses for their telecommunications needs. Last year, it had over 300,000 customers, including 83 percent of the Fortune 500 companies.

The firm has been generating strong cash flow, with adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation last year reaching US$900 million.

However, its interest expense of more than US$400 million every year has been pushing it consistently into a loss. Much of this is the result of the debt the company took on in its US$8.2 billion leveraged buyout in 2007 by private equity firms Silver Lake Partners LP and TPG Capital LP.

Avaya now faces a US$600 million debt maturity that is due in October 2017, for which it needs to raise cash.

As a result, Avaya has been considering a sale of itself as a whole, as well as its different businesses.

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