Apax Partners takes 27 percent stake in GFI Informatique

Apax Partners has invested €56 million in a French information technology services company that is hoping to double revenues to €1bn in three to five years.

Apax Partners France, the French subsidiary of the UK-based buyout firm, has bought a 27 percent stake in GFI Informatique, a French information technology service company, for €56 million ($72.6 million).

The founder of GFI owns a nine percent stake in the business while the management and employees own about six percent. About 85 percent of the shares were listed on Euronext in 1998.

GFI Informatique provides consulting, systems integration and services for information technology.

Apax has made the investment from its dedicated French fund.

Jacques Tordjman, chairman and chief executive officer of GFI Informatique, said the company recorded revenues of €543.8 million in 2005, but aims to increase this to €1 billion in three to five years from now.

Gilles Rigal, partner at Apax, said: “It is one of the top three information technology companies in France.  We want to accelerate growth in France and Spain.”  He said the firm could hold the investment for about five years. 

Aforge and Société Générale provided financial services to Apax while Clifford Chance gave legal advice.  Deloitte and Bearing Point performed due diligence.

Last year, the company bought Adelior, a Benelux internet services company, and Actif, a flood forecasting company, for an undisclosed amount.  The two acquisitions added an extra €75 million in revenues to GFI.

€3 million of the capital increase has been earmarked for the company’s employees.

Last week Apax’s European buyout arm sold Mölnlycke, a Swedish healthcare business, to Investor and Morgan Stanley for €2.85 billion, making a return of more than ten times its investment.

Apax Partners has €2 billion of funds under management.  The firm targets technology and telecoms, retail and consumer, media, healthcare and financial and business services.