Apax Partners’ mega fund

Leading global private equity firm, Apax Partners has reached its target of A4 billion with the oversubscribed first closing of its pan-European fund, Apax Europe V. One of the largest funds in Europe, the investment vehicle is targeting multi stage and multi sector investments. It will be capped at A4.4 billion.

The fund is over twice the size of Apax Europe IV, which launched in March 1999 with A1.8 million for investments. With the new fund, the group has over A12 billion under management worldwide.

Over 75 per cent of the fund was raised from existing investors, with 50 per cent from the US, 40 per cent from Europe and 10 per cent from Asia and the Middle East.

Sir Ronald Cohen, chairman of Apax Partners Venture Holdings, said that the new fund will support innovative investment in chosen growth sectors in Europe and Israel, irrespective of the stage of investment.

He added: “Approximately A1.5 billion of the new fund is allocated to investment in early stage companies. We will invest in companies and management teams that have the potential to become world class.”

Apax Partners invests in companies across its six chosen global growth sectors: information technology; telecommunications; media; financial services; healthcare and retail/consumer products.

Cohen commented on the current investment climate: “Technological advances will continue. With IPO markets closed, venture capital will become the only source of equity for growth companies. If banks begin to tighten credit and the high yield debt markets remain difficult for high tech companies, then venture capital will be the only alternative.”

“The growth of the venture capital industry in Europe over the past ten years and its current size now makes venture capital a significant alternative.”

In the past six years, Apax has seen 46 of the companies in its portfolio floated on the world’s leading stock markets, with a combined market value at admission of over A23 billion. Successes from Apax Europe IV, which is expected to be invested by the end of March, include: Sicor, a healthcare company specialising in the development of anti-infectives and Gunma, a developer of monoclonal anti-body-based therapeutics. Both companies floated last year.

Last month, Apax Partners Funds1 led the A52 million financing round of Webraska, the worldwide provider of wireless navigation services and technologies.