Apax Reaches Mega Target –

Leading global private equity firm, Apax Partners has reached its target of EURO4 billion ($3.7 billion) with the oversubscribed first closing of its pan-European fund, Apax Europe V.

The investment vehicle – one of the largest funds in Europe – is targeting multi-stage and multi-sector investments and is set to be capped at EURO4.4 billion ($4.1 billion).

The fund is more than twice the size of Apax Europe IV, which was launched in March 1999, and closed on EURO1.8 billion ($1.6 billion) for investments. With the new fund, the group has over EURO12 billion ($11.2 billion) under management worldwide.

Over 75% of the fund was raised from existing investors, with 50% coming from the U.S., 40% from Europe and 10% 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, regardless of investment stage.

“Approximately EURO1.5 billion ($1.4 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,” he added.

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

“Technological advances will continue. With IPO markets closed, venture capital will become the only source of equity for growth companies,” Cohen said. “If banks begin to tighten credit and the high yield debt markets remain difficult for high-tech companies, then VC will be the only alternative. The growth of the venture capital industry in Europe over the past 10 years and its current size now makes venture capital a significant alternative.”

In the past six years, Apax has seen 46 of its portfolio companies floated on the world’s leading stock markets. Successes from Apax Europe IV, which is expected to be fully invested by the end of this month, include Sicor, a health-care company specializing in the development of anti-infectives and Gunma, a developer of monoclonal anti-body-based therapeutics. Both companies floated last year.

In February, Apax Partners Funds led the EURO52 million ($48.6 million) financing round of Webraska, a worldwide provider of wireless navigation services and technologies.