June 19, 2018 / 9:25 PM / 3 months ago

Exclusive: Synnex in talks to acquire call center operator Convergys - sources

(Reuters) - Business process services company Synnex Corp (SNX.N) is in discussions to acquire Convergys Corp (CVG.N), a call center operator, in a move that would create a bigger player in the technology and information services space, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

The talks between the two companies could still fall apart and there is no guarantee they will be able to reach a deal, cautioned the sources, who asked not to be named because the matter is private.

Synnex, which has a market capitalization of roughly $4.55 billion, could bulk up its offerings to customers by acquiring Convergys, whose market value is $2.33 billion.

News of the potential deal sent shares of Convergys up 8 percent in after-hours trading to $27.35. Synnex shares rose 1.15 percent to $114.68 after hours.

Synnex and Convergys could not immediately be reached for comment.

Synnex, based in Fremont, California, operates in more than 30 countries and provides IT and outsourcing services to business customers.

Cincinnati-based Convergys is one of the several companies that have spun off from Cincinnati Bell Inc (CBB.N) over the years. It became a separate public company in 1998.

It reported a 10 percent decline in sales in the first quarter in part because of major clients reducing their reliance on its services.

Convergys began exploring a potential sale earlier this year, sources said, after its chief executive, Andrea Ayers, stepped down following nearly 30 years at the company.

Many call center operators have looked to sell themselves as automated customer service technologies reduce demand for human-operated call centers.

A number of deals related to call centers and the technology that powers them have been struck in recent years including the sale of Calabrio to KKR & Co LP (KKR.N), the acquisition of inContact Inc SAAS.O by Israel’s NICE Ltd (NICE.TA), and Genesys’ acquisition of Interactive Intelligence Group Inc for $1.4 billion in 2016.

Activist hedge fund Elliott Management Corp disclosed a stake of roughly 5 percent in Convergys earlier this year but has been quiet on its views on the company. Elliott could not be reached for comment.

Reporting by Carl O'Donnell and Liana B. Baker in New York; Additional reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Matthew Lewis

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