Apax agrees £1bn acquisition of foreign exchange firm Travelex


European private equity firm Apax Partners has agreed to buy a majority stake in foreign exchange specialist Travelex at a price that values the firm at more than £1bn. The transaction is expected to close in July 2005.

European private equity firm 3i, which has held a shareholding in Travelex since 1999, will retain a seven per cent stake and founder Lloyd Dorfman will retain a 30 per cent stake. Dorfman will continue to be chairman and chief executive. Before the transaction, Dorfman owned over 60 per cent of the firm and 3i owned 31 per cent.

The Travelex Group has offices in 35 countries. Travelex announced on 19 December 2004 that it had appointed Deutsche Bank to review the strategic options for the business. The auction for Travelex attracted significant interest from private equity groups, including BC Partners, Permira and KKR.

Stephen Green, a partner who heads Apax Partners’ Business and Financial Services team, said, ‘We are delighted to enter into partnership with Lloyd Dorfman at this exciting time for Travelex. Apax Partners is committed to supporting the global growth of Travelex’s corporate and consumer payment businesses.’

3i director Nick Badman added, ‘Travelex has been a great success story and a fabulous investment for 3i.’

Travelex has also revealed plans to explore opportunities to work with Standard Chartered across its network in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Apax operates across Europe, Israel and the United States. It pursues a balanced equity portfolio strategy, investing in late venture, growth capital and buy-outs. Only a few days ago Apax Partners merged its US buy-out business with buy-out firm Saunders Karp & Megrue. Apax is in the process of raising a new European buy-out fund. It held a close on around €3bn at the end of 2004 and is moving towards its target of €4.5bn.

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