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07 Nov 2013

John Mullins

After nine years of providing engineering services, QuEST was on the cusp of establishing a manufacturing division that would require major investment for many years to come.

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Ajit Prabhu leant back in his plane seat, on his way home to the USA after a routine visit to India. The flamingo pink colours of the sunset reflected across the cabin but Prabhu’s mind was anything but soothed. His business that he’d worked so hard for was at a turning point. It was November 2006 and after nine years of providing engineering services, QuEST was on the cusp of establishing a manufacturing division that would require major investment for many years to come.

As a result, Prabhu and his team had decided that QuEST’s major investor, The Carlyle Group, needed to exit, despite the fact that QuEST had benefited enormously from its partnership with Carlyle. Carlyle would rightly expect an attractive return on the investment it had made in QuEST, and this would require an attractive valuation of the company. So was now the time to float, to give Carlyle an exit via that route? Or should they take one of the offers on the table from trade suitors? Alternatively, could QuEST somehow afford to buy out Carlyle’s stake in the company? Prabhu sipped his red wine and gazed out of the window, contemplating these thoughts.

To read the case study in full, email innovation@london.edu.

About John Mullins

John Mullins is an Associate Professor of Management Practice in Marketing and Entrepreneurship at London Business School.


He teaches on the following programmes: