Funds advised by Apax Partners ("Apax") today announced that they have agreed to sell their majority ownership stake in Advantage Sales & Marketing LLC ("ASM"), North America's leading provider of outsourced sales and marketing services to manufacturers of consumer goods and retailers across multiple channels, to affiliates of the private equity firms Leonard Green & Partners, L.P. ("LGP") and funds advised by CVC Capital Partners ("CVC"). 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.
With offices strategically located throughout North America and a dynamic team of more than 38,000 associates, the world's leading consumer good suppliers and retailers rely on ASM as their solution for outsourced sales and marketing services in the retail and foodservice industries. The company's service portfolio includes headquarter sales and support, retail merchandising, and marketing services.
Apax Funds purchased a controlling stake in ASM in 2010. 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 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."
Domier continued: "We now enter the next chapter of Advantage's history, ready to work closely with our new partners at LGP and CVC to build upon our successes. As leading private equity investors in the Business Services, Retail and Consumer sectors, I am certain they will assist in creating new and exciting paths to growth as we seek the position of an undisputed global leader of business services solutions. This is a very exciting time at ASM and we could not be more excited about our future."
"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."
Christopher Stadler, Managing Partner at CVC, remarked, "ASM has earned an exceptionally loyal and growing base of clients by continually finding new ways to help them win in the marketplace. We are delighted to have the rare opportunity to back a team that has accomplished so much, yet has many pathways to sustain significant future growth."
Alex Pellegrini, Partner in the Consumer Group at Apax Partners, commented: "It has been a tremendous honor to partner with Tanya Domier and Sonny King. Through Tanya's leadership, ASM has built the best team in the business, and we are proud of the successes we've achieved together during Apax's investment period. We wish Tanya and her new partners the best during the next phase of the Company's evolution and are confident they will achieve great things given ASM's long-term prospects."
The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, and is expected to close during the third quarter of 2014. 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 LLP acted as legal counsel to LGP in connection with the transaction. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP 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 by BofA Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC, and Deutsche Bank Securities Inc.