Apax books 2x on Orange Switzerland

The firm has sold the business for €2.3bn after two years, generating an over 40% IRR on the deal

Private equity house Apax Partners has sold its investment in mobile phone operator Orange Switzerland for CHF 2.8 billion ($2.9 billion; €2.3 billion), exiting the business two years after its initial investment, according to a statement.

The firm said the deal had garnered “strong returns” for the fund, declining to provide further details, but it is understood from sources that Apax reaped a just over 2x exit multiple on the deal, with an over 40 percent internal rate of return.

The sale, to family office NJJ Capital, is subject to regulatory approval and expects to complete before the end of Q1 2015.

Since its investment in 2012, Apax helped transformed the company into a more efficient and resilient business while driving EBITDA growth, according to the firm.

Over the past three years, Orange successfully modernised its IT systems, launched its 4G commercial services, now reaching over 90 percent of the Swiss population, and expanded its footprint with eight store openings in 2014, including a flagship store in Zurich.

“Orange Switzerland has been a major and very successful investment for the Apax Funds. We are proud to have been an important part of the company’s development in the last three years, supporting Johan and his team in their successful drive to modernise the company,” Gabriele Cipparrone, partner at Apax, commented. 

It has been a successful year for Apax funds, which made a number of exits. In 2014 alone, Apax realised a total of $8.2 billion worth of exits for investors including Advantage Sales & Marketing, for which it gained 4x and Trizetto, returning close to 3x, according to sources.