Apax completes bolt-on deal for Travelex

Apax Partners has looked to bolster the US presence of portfolio company Travelex by bolting on Ruesch International, a rival payment services business owned by Welsh Carson Anderson & Stowe.

Apax Partners has completed a bolt-on acquisition for payment services business Travelex, buying US rival Ruesch International in a $440 million secondary deal.

Ruesch, which was previously owned by US buyout firm Welsh Carson Anderson & Stowe, is intended to bolster Travelex’s business-to-business foreign exchange division, as the company looks to cash in on the growth of the international payments market. The combined offering will have a broad-ranging worldwide client base, ranging from large corporates to about 35,000 small and medium sized businesses.

Citigroup and Deutsche Bank provided the debt financing package.

Stephen Wilcke, a partner at Apax who sits on Travelex’s board, said his firm’s US presence had made the deal possible. “In assisting Travelex in this acquisition, Apax has capitalised on its global reach, using a combined UK and US transaction team to deliver a transatlantic deal for one of our global portfolio companies.”

Apax first agreed to buy Travelex in early 2005, completing the transaction in August. It has since sold a minority stake to Standard Chartered, a bank with a large commercial presence in emerging markets, and bought out 3i, Travelex’s previous owner.

The buyout firm has played an active role during its ownership. It has made two senior appointments, recruiting John Martin from the Hay Group as the new chief financial officer in March last year and appointing Ian Meakins, the former chief executive of Alliance Boots, as group chief executive three months ago. Travelex has also formed a 10 year partnership with money transfer Western Union in December 2005, and last year bought 25 branches of Austria-based Reisebank.