Apax Partners

Last updated
Apax Partners LLP
Private, LLP
Industry Private equity
Venture capital
Founded1969;50 years ago (1969)
HeadquartersLondon, England
Key people
Andrew Sillitoe (co-CEO)
Mitch Truwit (co-CEO) [1]
Products Investments
Private equity funds
Leveraged buyouts
Growth capital
Total assets $51 billion [2]
Number of employees
Website www.apax.com

Apax Partners LLP is a British private equity firm, headquartered in London, England. [3] The company also operates out of six other offices in New York, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Tel Aviv, Munich and Shanghai. [4] As of December 2017, the firm, including its various predecessors, have raised approximately $51 billion (USD) since 1981. [2] Apax Partners is one of the oldest and largest private equity firms operating on an international basis, ranked the fourteenth largest private equity firm globally. [5]


Apax invests exclusively in certain business sectors including: telecommunications, technology, retail and consumer products, healthcare and financial and business services.

Apax raises capital for its investment funds through institutional investors including corporate and public pension funds, university and college endowments, foundations and fund of funds. One of the firm's co-founders, Alan Patricof, was an early investor in Apple Computer and America Online (AOL).


Apax Partners Worldwide is the product of the combination of three firms:

Patricof & Co. and MMG

In 1969, Alan Patricof founded Patricof & Co. a firm dedicated to making investments in "development capital" later known as "venture capital," primarily in small early-stage companies. Patricof, one of the early venture capitalists, was involved in the development of numerous major companies including America Online, Office Depot, Cadence Design Systems, Apple Computer and FORE Systems. [7] In 1975, Patricof launched 53rd Street Ventures, a $10 million vehicle.[ citation needed ]

Meanwhile, in 1972, Sir Ronald Cohen and Maurice Tchénio, along with two other partners, founded Multinational Management Group (MMG) with offices in London, Paris, and Chicago. MMG initially was established as an advisory firm, working with small emerging companies, rather than an investment firm. However, MMG initially struggled to gain traction amid the negative economic conditions, particularly in the UK in the mid-1970s.[ citation needed ]

By 1977, two of the original four founding partners had left MMG, leaving Cohen and Tchénio in need of a partner to help rejuvenate their firm. In that year, Cohen approached Alan Patricof to join them and run the new firm's investments in the U.S. The new firm would be known as Alan Patricof Associates (APA) and ultimately come to be known as Apax Partners (based on a play on Patricof's name: Alan Patricof Associates Cross (x) Border). Following the merger, MMG abandoned its advising business, and the new APA shifted its focus exclusively to investing in start-up companies.[ citation needed ]

1980s-21st century

Throughout the 1980s, the firm grew steadily raising capital under a series of separate funds. As the 1980s progressed, the firm introduced its first later stage venture fund in 1984, its first growth capital fund in 1987 and its first dedicated European leveraged buyout fund MMG Patricof European Buy-In Fund in 1989. [8] In response to the changing conditions, in the venture capital industry in the 1980s Apax (and other early venture capital firms including Warburg Pincus and J.H. Whitney & Company) began to transition away from venture capital toward leveraged buyouts and growth capital investments, which were in vogue in that decade. [9] [10] This trend was more prevalent in Europe than the U.S. where Patricof preferred to continue focusing on venture investments.

In 1991, Apax Partners became the official name for all of its European operations however the U.S. business still operated under the Patricof & Co. name. By the mid-1990s Apax had become one of the larger private equity firms globally.

In 2000, Patricof & Co. adopted the Apax Partners branding and formalized its affiliation with its European business. The U.S. business would operate as Apax Partners, Inc. [6] The following year, Patricof stepped back from day-to-day management of Apax Partners, Inc., the US arm of the firm to return to his original focus on making venture capital investments in small early-stage companies. In 2006, Patricof left Apax to form Greycroft Partners which focuses on small early-stage venture capital investments. [11]

Despite the closer relations between the U.S. and European teams, the firm still operated separate fund entities for each geography. The European side of the business began to pull away in terms of capital commitments, raising more than $5 billion for its 2004 vintage European fund but just $1 billion for its 2006 U.S. vintage fund. [8]

Saunders Karp & Megrue

In 2005, Apax announced it would acquire middle market leveraged buyout firm Saunders Karp & Megrue to augment its buyout business in the United States. Saunders Karp, formerly based in Stamford, Connecticut, was founded in 1989 by Thomas A. Saunders III and Allan W. Karp. John Megrue, who today serves as co-chairman of Bridgewater Associates, had worked as a principal at Patricof & Co. before joining Saunders Karp in 1992. [12] Saunders Karp had received capital commitments from institutional investors including AT&T Corporation, the General Electric Pension Trust, Goldman Sachs Private Equity Group, HarbourVest Partners, JP Morgan Fleming Asset Management, New York State Common Retirement Fund and Verizon, among others. [13]




British United Shoe machinery (2000)

The circumstances surrounding the demerger, transfer of assets and subsequent collapse of the British United Shoe Machinery in 2000 led to questions about Apax's behaviour being raised in Parliament by MPs of both main parties. After calls for an enquiry into the loss of hundreds of pensions were refused, Ros Altmann, the pensions expert and, as of 2015, UK Pensions minister described it "one of the worst cases ..I have seen ..the actions of the former owners - Apax have been immoral." The politician Ashok Kumar said, "I think these people needed flogging" ..these are greedy, selfish, capitalists who live on the backs of others. [43] [44]

Hellas Telecommunications (2015)

Following its sale of Wind Hellas in 2007, Apax and Hellas co-owner TPG were sued by former bondholders of the telecom company, who allege that Apax and TPG unjustifiably enriched themselves from Hellas and misrepresented the true state of its accounts. Apax has countered that some of these bondholders only began their dispute after passing up on the chance of selling prior to the bankruptcy of 2009, and that Apax sold the business in 2007 (almost three years before the bankruptcy) and so was not the legal owner of Hellas during the periods cited in some of the lawsuits. (In 2005 a New York judge awarded $56m to some of these bondholders, made against Hellas Telecommunications Finance and Hellas Finance, rather than Apax or TPG). Other lawsuits related to Apax and TPG's ownership of Hellas are being heard in the USA. In December 2015 a separate legal action brought by the liquidators of Hellas Telecommunications was dismissed by a Luxembourg court. [45] [46] [47] [48] [49] In February 2018 the liquidators abandoned their UK case against Apax and TPG after four days of trial. [50]

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