Clayton, Dubilier & Rice in the lead to buy Avaya call centre unit for around $4 bn

Private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) is in the lead to buy the call centre unit of debt-laden telecommunications equipment company Avaya Inc for around $4 billion, Reuters yesterday reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

In May, Avaya owners-private equity firms Silver Lake Partners and TPG Capital had hired investment bank Goldman Sachs to explore the possibility of selling the entire company or some of its major businesses. (See: Silver Lake, TPG Capital mull selling Avaya Inc)

Silver Lake and TPG Capital had acquired Avaya - a former unit of Lucent Technologies, in 2007 for $8.2 billion.

The sale is part of a plan by the private equity firms to deal with Avaya's $6-billion debt, and has a $600-million debt maturity due in October 2017.

CD&R has so far prevailed in an auction for Avaya's call centre business, and Reuters had in August reported that Avaya was accepting bids for the unit, including from Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories Inc.

Avaya specialises in Internet telephony, wireless data communications, and Customer relationship management (CRM) software.

In 2009, it acquired Nortel Networks' enterprise solutions division for $900 million after it outbid Siemens Enterprise Communications in a bankruptcy court auction.