Big data startup Mu Sigma founder and Chairman Dhiraj Rajaram has purchased the shares held by his former wife and chief executive officer Ambiga Subramanian to emerge as the controlling stakeholder in one of the Indian unicorns, new-age companies that are valued at $1 billion or more by private investors.
Rajaram will take over as the CEO from Subramanian, who will stay on the board as a director during the pendency of the transaction. Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Rajaram, 41, said he will own a 51.6% stake in Mu Sigma after the deal closes. He declined to provide details about the purchase price, valuation, or means of funding the transaction.
Rajaram, who held about 25.8% of the company on an undiluted basis, is buying Subramanian’s stake in the Chicago-based firm for an undisclosed amount. Both Subramanian and Rajaram held similar proportions before the stake sale while the remaining was held by private equity firms General Atlantic and Sequoia Capital and also MasterCard.
“It is good to finally put all distractions behind,” Rajaram said on Tuesday adding that the divorce had more impact on his personal side rather than on the business front. “I have a 13 year old son and sometimes it has been painful to explain him the stuff that has been published in the press. I had encouraged him to read newspapers so …that’s not been easy,” he added.
The decision of the founder couple puts to rest the concerns over future ownership and management of Mu Sigma, “the only profitable unicorn,” according to Rajaram.
Rajaram is said to have leveraged on the company’s cash and internal accruals to raise finances to pay his former wife. He declined to comment on the specifics of the transaction and how much Mu sigma was valued as part of the deal. Mu Sigma has about $200 million in cash and is generates about $50-60 million annually, giving Rajaram enough cushions to complete the transaction. General Atlantic and Sequoia Capital, other major investors, will keep their shareholding intact.
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