Teaching Note on Ajit Isaac: A Cash Generating Machine called 1-800-5000

Ajit Isaac, CEO and co-owner of IKYA Human Capital (which was renamed as Quess Corp Limited a few days ago) will be addressing my students at MDI on 9 January. In order to help students prepare for that class, I made a teaching note for them. You can get it from here.

Disclosure: I own shares in IKYA’s holding company, Thomas Cook India Limited (TCIL). This note is not a recommendation to buy TCIL shares.

19 thoughts on “Teaching Note on Ajit Isaac: A Cash Generating Machine called 1-800-5000

  1. aks neh says:

    Prof. Bakshi,

    You are the greatest teacher I never had 🙂

    Incredibly insightful note.
    Thank You.


  2. poteredi says:

    Dear Prof
    1.Its a sliver on the books of FFH. Mistakes made in acqusition will not have major impact on ffh, but will affect TC and its shareholders.
    2. Its owned by FFH, not Prem. FFH is insurance firm with objective of sure results, even if very slow. It may not benefit OPMI like us.
    3. Please dont assume/PREDICT that all acquisitions will be made to perfection, and give it valueations hgiher than cloud9. Buffett made many mistakes too. Highlight sterling acquisition logic and valuations.
    4. Question is if numbers r good, why would issac give away his company at low value?
    5. Such intemediaries only work in low skill sectors. Medium or High skill (silicon valley) has got many online intemediaries. See financials of NYSE MANPOWER.
    6. infoedge is a VENTURE CAPITALIST AND a non-linear oligopoly business. POOR COMPARISON of valuations. Manpower sells at low valuations of 13 pe in US’s bull market.
    7. Pg18 ikya annoucement talks about only price, not liabilites or change in laibilities or any other UUs.

  3. Muthu says:

    Brilliant. Insightful note. Happy that we got a teacher and mentor like you. Thank you so much for all your teachings. As a shareholder of TCIL; it helps me reinforce the value of my holding. I’ve been holding Piramal (PEL) since 2011 and didn’t calculate IRR. Good to know that it is 22% despite they being in an acquisition phase. Thanks for what you are Professor. Request you to continue your great work.

  4. Sir, Great Note.
    A Question – IKYA is a great business, cash machine, great management, Mr. Isaac knows the huge growth potential (1-800-5000) – what made him sell his business to Thomas Cook at less than 5 times earnings? Unlike the case of other acquisitions at cheap valuations mentioned in the note – Ikya clearly was not distressed.

    • He didn’t sell. India Equity Partners sold to TCIL…

      India Equity Partners is a private equity fund. While it was not a distressed seller, it was a motivated one. When you have a short-term structure (as most private equity funds do), you can’t hold on to things forever. People like Warren Buffett and Prem Watsa figured this out years ago. They excel in buying assets from distressed and motivated sellers and then they provide them a permanent home. That makes a lot of sense to me…

  5. Sir,

    Insightful note!

    Eager to gain more insights.. can I ask for a small favour

    Is there a way to attend this session.

    Maybe by dialling in on a number?

    I will be on mute mode..

  6. Thanks a lot! I am grateful.
    Will be waiting for it.

  7. Very Valuable insight! Good to learn the investment process! Will wait for the video.

  8. As always, you integrate all the facts into a latticework of mental models so beautifully. Charlie Munger must be so proud of you SIR. We all Wish to put our hand on a book written by you SIR and call it our INVESTMENT BIBLE.

  9. Sir, just an observation. Brainhunter has a revenue of USD 194 in FY 2009 with o.1% NPM.
    Largest client federal government.
    Just an http://www.crisil.com/Ratings/Brochureware/News/CRISIL-Research_equity-zylog-pr_100510.pdf

  10. Karan says:


    Thanks a lot for the job you’ve been doing.

    A query from my end- just entered the market a few months back and have been trying to get a grasp of investing. Have gone through Ben Graham and Seth Klarman’s books. However, I’d like to read one good book on valuation techniques, what they mean etc – could you help me on the same?

  11. A Ramsankar says:


    Thanks for your Great Note.

    Request to please provide your insight on the following.

    1) On 24th Nov 14 In TOI Mr Watsa has told that looking to create a New Company for $1 Billion investment.
    2)His Insider Trading Allegations with Quebec


  12. parth dalal says:

    professor, you have this knack of simplifying things. For someone like me, who is not from a finance background, it is a treat to read your post. knowledge gained from 3 investing books is lesser than any of your single post in your blog. it just clicks immediately and every single word makes a lot of sense. I am sure you are (or will be) writing a book. A request is to make it as simple as your post. Please write it keeping non-MBA people in your mind. Also, we are waiting for Mohnish Pabrai’s video.

  13. […] would be best to read my teaching note on Ajit and his presentation slides before you see the […]

  14. Market Student says:

    Dear Sir, I would be interested to know how you arrived at 4,200cr value for IKYA given by market participants comment. The financial news which came on 13 Jan also indicates the same assuming Thomas cook offloads 20-25% in IPO. http://www.dealcurry.com/20150113-Staffing-Agencies-IKYA-TeamLease-Plan-For-IPO.htm.

    If this is the case then Thomas Cook seems grossly undervalued even now.

    • I haven’t arrived at any valuation of IKYA. Nor will I be doing it on this blog. The post is meant to educate followers about the quality of the business Ajit leads and his qualities as an owner-manager and a human being.

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