Google scanning India for takeover

By agencies   |   Wednesday, 27 September 2006, 07:00 Hrs
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Hyderabad: Internet search giant Google is scanning India for potential acquisition targets as also the points-men to drive its expansion in the region.

Google Inc is currently in talks with a number of start-ups with unique and innovative business models, particularly in areas like voice and SMS-based advertising, to expand its presence in the country, an official close to the development said.

A Google spokesperson said, "Our M&A strategy has been to look for unique products, technologies and engineering teams that can help us provide innovative products to our users or enhance existing services."

However, the spokesperson of the search engine leader declined to comment on the issue that the company was talking to potential acquisition targets. "We do not comment on speculations," he said.

According to industry sources, Google has already identified some start-ups - based out of India as well as other markets - but with significant operations in the country.

The company is also scouting for some senior level officials to lead its investment and acquisition strategy in India and neighbouring countries in South Asia.

The company has already advertised a job opening on its India website for the position of Corporate Development Manager, South Asia, to be stationed in Mumbai or Bangalore, who would look after the development and execution of market strategies that drive market expansion opportunities.

The managers Google is seeking to hire would also negotiate on investments, partnerships, acquisitions and creation of deal terms.

However, the job postings do not directly and 100 percent correlate with the people that the company is actually hiring, We hire the person, not the job at Google," the company said, while adding that the job postings are not an indication of what we are going to do in the future.

However, the company, which already has a big research team and a huge India manpower at its centres in Bangalore and Hyderabad, said its "hiring continues apace" in the country.

When asked whether the company was talking with venture capital firms as well for its potential investment plans in India and other Asian markets, Google said, "As a matter of policy we do not share such information."

The company is reportedly planning to significantly expand its operations in the country, which could include continued hiring activities, acquisitions and investments in new-age technology segments particularly in the internet and telecom areas.

The company had opened its Research and Development in India at Bangalore with starting strength of about 100 people in 2004, while it has another R&D centre at Hyderabad and offices in Delhi and Mumbai.

The company has been always known as an agrressive recruiter. It's full-time employee strenght stood at about 7,942 people at the end of June this year, which was almost double of its year-ago workforce.

While the company declined to disclose its exact India workforce, the industry estimates Google's India strength at more than 3,000 people.

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