Middle market specialist LLR Partners, fresh off the close of its $800 million (€543 million) Fund III, has hired long-time Apax Partners dealmaker Gregory Case as a partner in the firm’s Philadelphia headquarters.
Case spent the past 16 years at Apax before leaving the London-based firm’s financial services group early last year. He said his departure from Apax was primarily motivated by the firm’s shifting focus from late stage venture and growth investments to large-size buyouts.
“For my European partners it made perfect sense for them to take the entire business of Apax and move it into the path of doing very large cross-border buyouts,” Case, who specialised in growth equity investments between $15 million and $50 million in tech-enabled business firms, told PEO.
“I think at this point, Apax wouldn’t do a deal smaller than $400 million or $500 million in equity. So within a pretty short period of time the deals I was working on just weren’t large enough anymore to be of interest to the new Apax,” said Case, who added that he left the firm on amicable terms.
For my European partners it made perfect sense for them to take the entire business…and move it into the path of doing very large buyouts.
The Wharton School of Business alum has been involved in several of Apax’s US deals, including the London-based firm’s $25 million acquisition of Texas-based Planview and its purchase of a $20 million minority stake in real estate technology services company Realpage.
Case also played a role in the joint Apax-LLR acquisition of software company Princeton Softech, a deal which helped further his relationship with the middle market firm. Case said that the investment yielded high returns from a sale last year to IBM.
“I’ve known the guys for a long time, we were co-investors and worked together very actively in that situation,” said Case, who replaced LLR founder Mitchell Hollin at Apax when he first graduated from business school in 1991. “As a result I got to know their approach to business, the kinds of things they look for, the kinds of deals they focus upon and it was a great fit for what I was doing at Apax.”
Apax’s US operations has endured considerable turnover since the firm merged with buyout firm Saunders, Karp & Megrue in 2005 to bolster its stateside middle market presence. Since that merger, Apax Partners US co-chief Allan Karp, retail and consumer investment head Chris Reilly, and executive Roger Hurwitz have left the firm, with Karp and Reilly spinning out to form Connecticut-based private equity firm KarpReilly.
Case has joined a significantly smaller firm in LLR, which focuses on middle market companies specialising in the healthcare, financial and business services, information technology and education sectors.
The firm currently boasts roughly $1.4 billion under management. In March, Apax Partners held a long-anticipated final close of its latest fund on €11.1 billion.