Indy cloud-consulting firm Appirio to be acquired for $500M

Wipro Limited, a publicly traded information technology firm based in India, announced Thursday that it's buying Indianapolis-based Appirio Inc. for $500 million.

Appirio, a cloud-consulting company, moved its corporate headquarters from San Francisco to Indianapolis last year. It first opened an Indianapolis office with about 20 people in 2012 and has since grown to nearly 200 in its offices at Pan American Plaza. It has 1,250 employees globally.

Among other things, Appirio helps enterprises migrate operations to cloud-based services including Salesforce and Workday. Wipro, based in Bangalore, said Thursday that it will consolidate its comparable consulting services under the Appirio brand, which will continue to be led by Appirio CEO Chris Barbin.

“When you combine Wipro’s global scale and deep digital focus with Appirio’s transformative worker and customer experience expertise, and best in class team, brand, and partners, you create a formidable force in the industry,” Barbin said in prepared remarks.

“Together, our aim is to dominate the market and claim the top spots in industry Net Promoter Score, market share, and best places to work," he said.

The deal is expected to close Dec. 31. Appirio will remain headquartered in Indianapolis, and company officials expect to continue pursuing aggressive growth plans announced year, Steve Pruden, vice president of strategy and partners, told IBJ on Thursday.

Wipro has 170,000 employees across six continents.

The acquisition comes after a 10-year independent run for Appirio and amid a wave of cloud-consultancy buyouts in recent years. Appirio was considered one of the largest, if not the largest, such companies remaining after IBM purchased Bluewolf Group LLC for $200 million in late March.

Around that time, Barbin told IBJ that he'd prefer an IPO instead of a sale.

Appirio generated $200 million in revenue last year. In a state tax incentive deal struck in 2015, it pledges to have 577 local employees by the end of 2020. Average salaries for new hires under the agreement were expected to exceed $65,000.

Appirio was founded in August 2006 and moved its headquarters  to Indianapolis last summer  partially because competition for tech talent was so fierce in California.

Wipro was founded in 1945, is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and has a market capitalization of about $18.3 billion. Shares were down less than 1 percent to $10.02 early Thursday.

The company generated $1.3 billion in profits off $7.7 billion in revenue in the fiscal year ended March 31.

Appirio and other cloud-consulting firms have emerged over the past decade as companies have started using remote servers to access software, as opposed to buying and installing software on site. The companies that make these complex, cloud-based applications have mostly stuck to development and selling, leaving the task of migrating onto them up to the buyers.

So-called global systems integrators like Accenture and Deloitte have been around for years to help, but industry observers said they’ve historically been slow, diversified and deficient in cloud expertise. The younger, more-agile breed of integrators, however, grew up in the cloud and specialize in specific software applications.

This story will be updated.

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