Apax Partners

  • Overview

A new era

Apax Partners is a veteran in the private equity biz, tracing its roots back to 1969, when the investment firm was known as Alan Patricof Associates.  In the past four years, the firm has undergone a subtle but significant shift as a result of its old-school management giving up the reins to a new era under the leadership of Martin Halusa.  In his short tenure as CEO, Halusa has significantly altered Apax's business model, most notably with the decision to cease all venture capital investments in order to focus attention on the business of buyouts.  Also under Halusa's management, the firm has expanded geographically, opening offices in Stockholm in 2004, Hong Kong in 2005, Mumbai in 2006 and Shanghai in 2009.  Today, Apax has approximately 300 employees in 11 offices worldwide.

Five-pointed star

Apax has a long history of excellence in global private equity, with funds that focus on five specific sectors: tech and telecom, retail and consumer, media, healthcare, and financial and business services.  Typically, Apax invests in companies that have a value between $1 billion and $5 billion.  In 2008, the company's laundry list of awards included those from Dow Jones, Acquisitions Monthly, Financial Times-Mergermarket, and European Venture Capital Journal Awards for being the top private equity firm of the year.  In 2009, the firm was ranked 10th on the Private Equity International's list of the biggest global private equity investors.  Throughout its history, Apax has invested in over 340 companies, including Tommy Hilfiger, Qualitest and Vintage Pharmaceuticals, Hub International and TriZetto.  To date, Apax and its partners are managing a total of $35 billion in equity funds worldwide.

Joining three into one

Though its earliest roots stretch back to Alan Patricof Associates in 1969, today's Apax is actually the combination of three firms which have merged together over the course of 40 years.  The original firm was headed up by Alan Patricof, a key investor in some of the most important and successful companies of the 20th century, including America Online, Apple and Office Depot.  In 1977, Patricof Associates merged with Multinational Management Group, an advisory firm run by Sir Ronald Cohen and Maurice Tchénio.  Eventually, the combined company began to focus more on investing in start-ups, and in 1991, Patricof Associates adopted the name Apax Partners.  The last company to join the Apax triumvirate was Saunders, Karp & Megrue (SKM), a middle-market leveraged buyout firm.  SKM merged with Apex in 2005.

Coming clean

An intense public interest in the rise of private equity led British authorities to mandate that all U.K. private equity companies increase transparency and issue annual reports on the status of their earnings.  Apax's first annual report was published in June 2008 and painted a rosy picture of the company's recent activities.  Apax reported that it returned $3.5 billion to investors from the sales of companies including TIM Hellas in Greece, Molnlycke in Sweden, Sulo in Germany, and Healthcare at Home and The Stationery Office in the United Kingdom.  It also boasts of double-digit portfolio growth for its investors in 2008 (although the 11 percent growth that year is much lower than its 16 percent average in the last 10 years) and floated into the market some $1.84 billion and realized $1.07 billion for that same year.

Big buys

One of Apax's biggest transactions of 2008 was the takeover of California-based software company TriZetto Group, a purchase valued at $1.4 billion.  Apax originally made the offer in April, but the deal wasn't approved by TriZetto shareholders until mid-July due to class-action lawsuits related to the deal.  When the bid did come to a vote, shareholders approved the takeover by 99.8 percent.  A year later, Apax completed the deal to buy Bankrate Inc. for $571 million.  Although not as high-profile as the TriZetto acquisition, the transaction offered Apax with so much clout as the flagship brand Bankrate.com is known as the one-stop shop for financial and management needs.  In 2008 alone, Bankrate.com was visited by some 70 million unique visitors, and its financial reviews are distributed to approximately 500 newspapers.  If the buyouts might be few and far between, it was meant to be that way in accordance with the company philosophy of being "thesis-driven rather than opportunity-driven."  CEO Halusa pointed to this philosophy of bucking market trend and not being seduced by mega-deals as the driving force that will enable the company to "carry on through and past the credit crunch with no slowdown."



Apax Partners


153 East 53rd Street
53rd Floor
New York, NY 10022
Phone: (212) 753-6300
Fax: (212) 319-6155
www.apax.com

STATS


  • Employer Type: Private
  • CEO: Martin Halusa
  • 2008 Employees: 270,000

Major Office Locations

  • Palo Alto, CA
  • New York, NY
  • Madrid, Spain
  • Zurich, Switzerland
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Paris, France
  • Munich, Germany
  • Dublin, Ireland
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