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Apax exits Unilabs to AP Moller Group in €5bn deal after 14-year-hold

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Private equity major Apax Partners has agreed to sell its controlling stake in  Unilabs after 14 years in its portfolio, with AltAssets sources putting the deal at €5bn.

Unilabs provides diagnostics services across laboratory, imaging and pathology services in Europe. The parent company of the Danish AP Moller Group, founded and run by the Maersk family, is the buyer.

Apax said Unilabs operates in a highly fragmented market with significant expertise. It is the only European player covering at scale. Since Apax’s minority investment in 2007, it had taken the company private from the Swiss Stock Exchange and merged it with Nordic laboratory Capio Diagnostics.

Apax gained majority control of the company in 2017 and continued investments in people, technology and M&A, the firm said. The company has carried out more than 50 add-on acquisitions in the four years.

Steven Dyson, partner at Apax, said, “Unilabs is an excellent example of the Apax Funds’ transformative ownership approach, focusing on healthcare fundamentals and partnering with exceptional management teams. It has been great to work with Jos, Michiel and the whole Unilabs team over the past few years.

“The Company has undergone significant transformation which includes accelerating organic growth, expanding into new markets through strategic acquisitions and leading the digitalisation of healthcare, to become a leading provider of diagnostics services in Europe.”

Apax had made over 80 investments in the healthcare sector across US, Europe and Asia. Current and recent investments include Eating Recovery Center, Rodentock, InnovAge, Candela and Vyaire.

The firm struck its €1.6bn hard cap for Apax Midmarket X in July, which it had initially hoped would reach a €1.2bn target.

Fund X is 60% larger than its 2016-vintage predecessor, which it closed on €1.03bn.

In September, the firm hauled in $1.75bn for its second fund dedicated to high-growth tech dealmaking.

The firm had set out with a $1.5bn target for Digital Fund II, already 50% larger than the its $1bn debut tech-focused fund closed in 2017.

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