Apax Partners has agreed to sell its majority ownership stake in Advantage Sales & Marketing (ASM), a provider of outsourced sales and marketing services to manufacturers of consumer goods and retailers across multiple channels, to Leonard Green & Partners and CVC Capital Partners. Members of ASM’s senior management will continue to maintain a significant equity interest in the company, which is expected to achieve 2014 revenue of approximately $1.6 billion. Apax Funds purchased a controlling stake in ASM in 2010. The transaction is expected to close during the third quarter of 2014.
Advantage Sales & Marketing (ASM) is a sales and marketing agency committed to building brand value for its clients and customers. ASM’s customized sales and marketing solutions include headquarter sales, retail merchandising, and marketing services such as shopper, experiential, digital/social, and multicultural marketing, for the grocery, drugstore, club, convenience, natural/specialty, consumer electronics, home center, and foodservice industries. Headquartered in Irvine, CA and founded in 1987, ASM has more than 38,000 associates and offices throughout the United States and Canada (www.asmnet.com).
During Apax Funds’ ownership period, ASM achieved substantial growth, both organically and through strategic acquisitions by enhancing its core service offerings in existing channels, expanding into new channels and enhancing the technology platforms used to collect, analyze, and deliver actionable insights to clients.
Apax invests in technology & telecom; retail & consumer; media; healthcare; and financial & business services sectors. Apax is based in London and New York (www.apax.com).
“Apax Partners have added tremendous value to ASM over the past three-and-a-half years,” said Tanya Domier, ASM Chief Executive Officer. “This partnership has been a textbook example of how a private equity firm and a management team can create value together through collaborating on strategy, growth, and vision, and being willing to work hard to take a good company to great! We set out with a clear vision, worked hard together, and focused on accelerating growth, and that is exactly what we accomplished.”
“ASM is an exceptional company with an incredible track record, strong brand equity, and tremendous opportunities for growth,” said Jonathan Sokoloff, Managing Partner at LGP. “We are excited to partner with Tanya and the rest of ASM’s talented management team and look forward to supporting the next phase of the Company’s growth.”
Leonard Green & Partners’ invests in middle-market companies with market-leading franchises and defensible competitive positions, attractive growth prospects and proven management teams. The firm’s investments are in the form of traditional buyouts, going-private transactions, recapitalizations, growth capital investments, corporate carve-outs and selective public equity and debt positions. Sectors of interest include retail, distribution, healthcare, aerospace/defense and consumer/business services. Leonard Green & Partners was established in 1989 and manages approximately $15 billion of equity capital. The firm is located in Los Angeles, CA (www.leonardgreen.com).
CVC invests in a range of industries with a specific interest in industrial and service businesses. To date, CVC has raised over $56 billion in capital completing over 300 investments with an aggregate transaction value of $172 billion. The firm, founded in 1981, is based in London and has a network of 20 offices and 250 employees throughout Europe, Asia and the United States (www.cvc.com).
BofA Merrill Lynch (lead advisor) and J.P. Morgan Securities LLC are serving as financial advisors to ASM and Apax and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom is acting as legal advisor. Latham & Watkins acted as legal counsel to LGP in connection with the transaction. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett acted as legal counsel, and Morgan Stanley served as financial advisor to CVC in the transaction.
The debt financing for the transaction has been committed to by BofA Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse Securities (USA), and Deutsche Bank Securities.
2014 PEPD • Private Equity’s Leading News Magazine • 6-18-14