The Carlyle Group took over a majority stake in bilingual call-centre services provider Hispanic Teleservices Corp. (HTC), acquiring the business from a partnership of JPMorgan Partners and Citigroup Venture Capital International.
The deal comes just months after the disclosure in November that Carlyle was raising its first ever Hispanic-focused fund, Carlyle Mexico Partners. According to a filing on the Web site of the International Finance Corp. (IFC), Carlyle is seeking $120 million for the fund, which will seek “buyout and other private equity opportunities in Mexico and US companies that have a significant Hispanic customer base or cross-border initiatives”.
Carlyle originally launched its office in Mexico City in 2003 and has since notched two other investments with operations based primarily in Mexico. In 2004, the firm acquired a control stake in Mexican movie theatre chain Cinemex and last year bought for-profit university Universidad Latinoamericana, based in Mexico City and Cuernavaca, Morelos. Both of those investments, as well as the HTC deal, are coming out of the firm’s new fund.
According to a statement, HTC serves as an archetype for future investments to be made out of the new vehicle. The firm specifically said that it will look to take advantage of the continued integration between the US and Mexican economies.
“We are excited about this investment,” Carlyle managing director Joaquin Avila said in a statement. “As the US Hispanic market continues to swell and flex its economic muscle, US companies will pay increasing attention to their distinct customer service needs. HTC is perfectly positioned to capitalise on that trend”.
HTC is actually based in Houston, Texas, but operates out of facilities in Mexico, specifically in Monterrey and Guadalajara. The company provides customer support, acquisition services such as registrations and inbound sales, and Spanish call-flow customisation and translation, among other services.
HTC was founded in 1999, and two years later received venture backing from Citigroup Venture Capital and JPMorgan Partners.