French private equity house Apax Partners has established its first international office in Italy as part of a European expansion.
The two-strong Milan office will be led by head of Italy Francesco Revel-Sillamoni, who joined the French buyout firm in 2012, according to a statement. The firm has also tapped Francesco Panfilo, former founding managing partner at Italian mid-market buyout house PM & Partners, as senior advisor.
The move follows the appointment of Onno Sloterdijk as senior advisor for Benelux in January in order to boost its presence in the region, the firm said.
“We decided that if we wanted to make a big push into Italy, which is a big market for private equity and very attractive in terms of primary deals, [an office] was the best option for us to be credible and take opportunities,” Revel-Sillamoni, who is of is of French and Italian descent, told Private Equity International.
Apax Partners completed its first direct Italian transaction in March with the acquisition of consultancy company Business Integration Partners, the firm said. It is currently investing from Apax France IX, a €1 billion 2016-vintage targeting TMT, retail and consumer goods, healthcare and services in Western Europe. Revel-Sillamoni added further hires could be forthcoming, depending on dealflow.
“If the operations are successful we will make several other deals. Given the size of the Italian market, which is not as big as the UK or French ones but still quite sizable, and the strong pipeline, we will have to make some local hires,” he said.
“We don’t have a specific cap in terms of capital to invest [there], we act in terms of opportunities. If we believe having three or four deals in Italy very quick is very interesting for us and LPs then we will do it.”
The firm – previously known as Apax Partners MidMarket – also acquired French small-cap specialist EPF Partners last July and is understood to be targeting around €225 million for its debut fund in this segment.