Apax France eyes €750m fund close

The French private equity firm is looking to hold a final close on Fund VIII – which has been in the market for the duration of the financial crisis – in June.

Paris-based Apax Partners France is likely to close its eighth buyout fund on between €700 million and €750 million in June this year, according to Eddie Misrahi, the new chairman and chief executive officer of the firm. 

The private equity firm, which was formerly affiliated with London-headquartered Apax Partners but is now entirely separate, began fundraising for Fund VIII before escalation of the financial crisis in 2008. “We lived through it,” said Misrahi, referring to the evaporation and gradual return of the private equity fundraising market during the financial crisis.

Misrahi was speaking to PEI ahead of a country report on the French market due to be published in April. He described the fundraise as progressing “at the limited partners’ pace rather than our pace”.

Misrahi joined Apax Partners in 1991 as a partner and was unveiled last week as the successor to chairman and chief executive officer Maurice Tchenio, who was one of the original trio to found Apax in 1972. Apax was originally structured as a collection of separate funds. In 1999 the US, UK, Swiss, German and Spanish operatives merged, but the French operative, managed by Tchenio, opted out of the arrangement.

Apax France’s previous fund closed on €900 million in 2006 and is now 90 percent invested. The remaining 10 percent will only be called for follow-on investments where necessary.

The latest fund has a greater proportion of non-French LPs than its predecessors, said Misrahi, because the French private equity LP community has historically been dominated by insurers and banks, two groups which are being affected by the upcoming regulatory changes – in the form of Basel III and Sovency II – that will push them away from private equity. “They are being incentivised either to reduce or at most maintain their exposure,” he said.

To read more about the French market and Apax’s – as well as other – fundraising efforts, watch out for the April edition of PEI.