Apax considers stake sale

Apax Partners, a global private equity firm, is considering following US peers The Blackstone Group and Apollo Management by selling a stake in its management company.

Reports today suggest that Apax is in discussions with three unnamed investors, believed to come from the Middle East, Asia and North America, which would provide liquidity for the firm’s senior partners as well as provide a resource to tap into global markets.

Sovereign wealth funds have been suggested as the likely investors, along with some major US pension funds. Last May, the China Investment Corporation paid approximately US$3bn for a 10% stake in buyout behemoth Blackstone.

In 2007, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) bought a 10% stake in Apollo Management for approximately US$1.5bn. The previous year it had paid US$600m for 40% of the shares in a publicly-listed fund managed by Apollo.

Abu Dhabi has already invested in private equity via Mubadala Development Company, an investment vehicle of the Abu Dhabi government, which bought a 7.5% stake in Carlyle for US$1.35bn last September.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System is one of North America’s largest pension funds and one of the largest to invest in private equity. Along with significant commitments to most of the world’s largest and best known funds, it also has a 5.5% stake in The Carlyle Group, which it purchased for an undisclosed amount in 2000.

Reports surfaced late last year that Apax was considering selling a stake in its management company.

Apax was not available for comment.