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Apax sells Eyretel shares

Apax Partners has sold its 31 million remaining shares in Eyretel, which develops digital call recording and analysis systems, for GBP28 million. The investment dates back to 1998 and has generated an IRR of 64 per cent per annum. Dr Peter Englander of Apax said: “We are very pleased and wish the company well.”

Apax invested GBP19.6 million in Eyretel in September 1998, in conjunction with its US affiliate Patricof & Co. Eyretel went on to raise GBP37 million when it was listed on the London Stock Exchange in April 2000. The company’s IPO price was 150 pence per share, valuing the company at around GBP218 million. At that time Apax sold 14 million ordinary shares and five million preferred shares, yielding about the same amount then as it has received from the sale of 31,218,779 shares sold at 90 pence each this November.

UBS Warburg placed a total of 37 million shares, representing a 25 per cent stake in Eyretel. Three of company’s directors, including chief executive Nick Discombe, placed shares at the same time as Apax.

Founded in 1991 and now supplying its products internationally, Eyretel develops software and hardware allowing the recording and detailed analysis of customer communication and interaction, such as telephone calls, web chat, e-mail and desktop computer activity. In October the company announced it expected to deliver a positive profit for the six months to September 30, 2001, ahead of expectations. Revenues for the second and third quarters are expected to show like-for-like growth of around 28 per cent compared to the same period last year.