Apax Said to Return $4.5 Billion to Investors in Three Months

Apax Partners has returned 4.2 billion euros ($4.5 billion) to investors in the past three months from one of Europe’s largest buyout funds raised before the financial crisis, said people with knowledge of the matter.

That brings the total returned to the private equity fund’s backers in the past 15 months to about 9.7 billion euros, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. Apax’s biggest profits in the past year stem from the sale of Israeli dairy products producer Tnuva and British publisher Auto Trader.

The figures mark a turnaround for Apax’s seventh pool, a 11.2 billion-euro fund raised in 2007. The vehicle, which the firm’s executives had expected to deliver a 30 percent loss during the financial crisis, is now valued at 60 percent more than its backers’ original pledges, a figure that may increase in time to 80 percent, one of the people said.

Apax reaped almost six times its original investment in Tnuva, more than quadrupled its investment in Auto Trader, and still owns a quarter of the publisher after taking it public last month. Even so, the fund wrote down the value of its stake in Takko to 10 percent of the cash it originally invested as the German chain of discount clothing stores struggled to grow, one of the people said.

The firm, which is led by Andrew Sillitoe and Mitch Truwit, disclosed the figures to investors at its annual meeting, at London’s Savoy Hotel on Tuesday, the people said. A spokeswoman for London-based Apax declined to comment.

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