Apax Buys Majority Stake in Advantage

IRVINE, Calif. — Advantage Sales & Marketing here said Thursday that its equity partners, J.W. Childs Associates and BAML Capital Partners (Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity) have agreed to sell their majority interest in Advantage to funds affiliated with Apax Partners, another private-equity group.

IRVINE, Calif. — Advantage Sales & Marketing here said Thursday that its equity partners, J.W. Childs Associates and BAML Capital Partners (Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity) have agreed to sell their majority interest in Advantage to funds affiliated with Apax Partners, another private-equity group.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, although a report in the New York Times estimated the value at about $1.8 billion. According to that report, Apax would acquire 85% of the company, with the rest owned by current management.

Advantage, which provides outsourced sales, marketing and merchandising services to CPG companies, has 2010 revenues of approximately $1 billion. Advantage said its senior leadership team will continue to manage the day-to-day operations after the transaction closes, which is slated to take place by the end of the year.

“I am very excited to embark on our new partnership with Apax Partners. Their global reach and large network of relationships will not only drive value for ASM but also create opportunities for further growth,” said Sonny King, chairman and chief executive officer, in a prepared statement. "Apax is an ideal partner for our company given their deep expertise in retail and consumer products.”

Alex Pellegrini, partner in the Retail & Consumer Group at Apax Partners, said, “We believe that ASM operates in a favorable industry that features strong secular growth trends, including more outsourcing by CPGs and a greater focus on in-store marketing."

Investment banking firm Sawaya Segalas & Co. was exclusive financial advisor to Advantage in the transaction.