Apax Buys Advantage Sales & Marketing

Private equity shop Apax Partners will acquired a majority stake in Advantage Sales & Marketing, a marketing agency owned currently by J.W. Childs Associates and BAML Capital Partners. Financial terms of the deal, which is expected to close by the end of this year, were not disclosed. Irvine, Calif.-based Advantage Sales & Marketing has more than 1,200 clients and 66 offices across the U.S. Under the terms of the acquisition, Advantage’s current management team will continue to lead operations. Apax Partners is based in New York.

Funds advised by Apax Partners (“Apax”), one of the world’s leading private equity investment groups, today announced they have agreed to acquire a majority interest in Advantage Sales & Marketing LLC (ASM), North America’s premier sales and marketing agency, from J.W. Childs Associates, L.P. and BAML Capital Partners (Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity). Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

ASM, which provides outsourced sales, marketing and merchandising services to manufacturers, suppliers and producers of consumer packaged goods (CPGs), has 2010 revenues of approximately $1 billion. Upon completion of the transaction, ASM’s senior leadership team will continue to manage the Company’s day-to-day operations.

“ASM has established an impressive track record of generating value for its clients and customers through its operational excellence in both Sales and Marketing,” said John Megrue, Chief Executive Officer of Apax Partners U.S., and co-head of the Apax Retail & Consumer team. “We look forward to partnering with the Company’s outstanding management team led by Sonny King and Tanya Domier.”

Alex Pellegrini, Partner in the Retail & Consumer Group at Apax Partners, commented: “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. Advantage is well positioned to further build brand value for its clients and customers through its industry-leading sales and marketing capabilities.”

“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 Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sonny King. “Apax is an ideal partner for our company given their deep expertise in Retail & Consumer Products.”

“This transaction marks a new chapter in the growth of our business,” said Tanya Domier, President and Chief Operating Officer. “We look forward to pursuing our growth strategy with the support of Apax.”

The transaction, which is subject to customary approvals, is expected to close prior to the end of 2010.

Sawaya Segalas & Co., LLC, a leading consumer investment banking firm, acted as exclusive financial adviser to the Company in connection with the transaction.

Apax Partners has deep retail and consumer expertise and a demonstrated ability to identify and develop strong growth companies in the sector. During their history, Apax Partners Funds have invested approximately $5.9 billion (€4.3 billion) of equity in retail and consumer businesses globally, including in companies such as Tommy Hilfiger, Phillips-Van Heusen, rue21, inc., New Look, Somerfield, Tnuva, Tommy Bahama, Dollar Tree Stores and The Children’s Place.

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About Apax Partners

Apax Partners is one of the world’s leading private equity investment groups. It operates across the United States, Europe and Asia and has more than 30 years of investing experience. Funds under the advice and management of Apax Partners globally total around $40 billion. These Funds provide long-term equity financing to build and strengthen world-class companies. Apax Partners Funds invest in companies across its global sectors of Retail & Consumer, Tech & Telecom, Media, Healthcare and Financial & Business Services. For more information visit: www.apax.com.

About Advantage Sales & Marketing LLC

Founded in 1987, Advantage Sales & Marketing LLC (ASM) is North America’s premier sales and marketing agency, committed to building brand value for its more than 1,200 clients. ASM’s cradle-to-cart—post-manufacture to consumption—customized sales and marketing solutions include headquarter sales, retail merchandising and marketing services, specializing in client and customer events, publications and assisted-selling services for the grocery, drugstore, club, convenience, natural/specialty, consumer electronic and home center industries. Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., ASM has more than 30,000 associates and 66 offices in the United States and Canada. For additional information, visit www.asmnet.com or call +1 949-797-3105.