Apax to sell 10 percent stake

A trio of sovereign wealth funds is in negotiations to take a stake in the UK-based private equity firm, in a move that could value the company at around £1.5bn.

Apax Partners, the UK private equity firm originally founded by Sir Ronald Cohen, is in advanced negotiations with three sovereign wealth funds to sell a 10 percent stake in itself, PEO has confirmed.

The three prospective investors comprise The Australia Government Future Fund, the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) and an unnamed Japanese firm. The deal, first reported in UK newspaper The Times, would reportedly value Apax at around £1.5 billion (€1.8 billion; $2.8 billion).

A source close to the situation told PEO that negotiations are ongoing and that it was impossible to say when a successful outcome would be reached.

Apax declined to comment on the reports.

The Australia Government Future Fund is a A$60 billion investment fund, set up in 2006 with the aim of financing future civil service pension liabilities. 

GIC is the largest sovereign wealth fund in Asia with assets totalling around $330 billion. It is an active investor in Western financial services companies, having spent a total of $18 billion buying stakes in UBS and Citigroup since December 2007.

Stephen Schwarzman, The Blackstone Group's chairman and chief executive, defended sovereign wealth funds as “model investors” at January's World Economic Forum in Davos, after China's Government Investment Corporation bought a 9.9 percent stake in Blackstone for $3 billion ahead of the firm's initial public listing in June 2007.

In July 2007 the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority acquired an undisclosed stake in US group Apollo Management.