The Jewish Chronicle - - FEATURES -

IN THE 15 years to my de­par­ture from Apax, the funds for which I was re­spon­si­ble achieved an av­er­age rate of re­turn for our in­vestors of more than 30 per cent, net of all fees and car­ried in­ter­est. (Apax earns fees for man­ag­ing the funds, as well as tak­ing its 20 per cent share of the prof­its of the funds.)

Over three decades, we in­vested in more than 350 ven­tures, rang­ing from biotech­nol­ogy to book­selling. For ev­ery in­vest­ment we made, we prob­a­bly gave de­tailed con­sid­er­a­tion to 50 busi­ness plans. That means that we ex­am­ined more than 15,000 plans in to­tal: 500 or so plans a year, 10 op­por­tu­ni­ties ev­ery week.

By the time I left the firm in 2005, we had floated more than 70 com­pa­nies, with com­bined ini­tial pub­lic val­u­a­tions of $34 bil­lion.

Our first UK fund raised £10 mil­lion. There­after we raised a fur­ther 26 funds in Europe, the United States, Is­rael and Ja­pan.

With a mix of early-stage in­vest­ments and buy-outs, Apax backed all kinds of busi­nesses: global brands such as Ap­ple and AOL; fash­ion la­bels Tommy Hil­figer and Calvin Klein; and satel­lite gi­ants such as In­marsat.

Apax funds in­vested in Is­raeli telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions op­er­a­tor Bezeq, and, in Bri­tain, in the cur­rency ex­change firm Trav­elex, Water­stone’s book­stores, IT provider Com­puta­cen­ter, Au­ton­omy, New Covent Gar­den Soup, the New Look fash­ion chain, Vir­gin Ra­dio, the Yell and Thompson di­rec­to­ries busi­nesses, and Easy Ev­ery­thing.

Apart from the bio­science ven­ture PPL Ther­a­peu­tics, which cre­ated Dolly the cloned sheep, which could end up be­ing one of the ma­jor tech­no­log­i­cal break­throughs of our time, the com­pa­nies we have backed prob­a­bly have not in­di­vid­u­ally in­flu­enced the course of his­tory. Col­lec­tively, how­ever, they have helped change the face of Euro­pean and Amer­i­can busi­ness.

By the time I stood down from the chair­man­ship in Au­gust 2005, Apax it­self had more than 300 em­ploy­ees, and of­fices in Lon­don, New York, Sil­i­con Val­ley, Mu­nich, Paris, Mi­lan, Madrid, Stock­holm and Tel Aviv. We had more than $20 bil­lion un­der man­age­ment.

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