Ex-Apax star raising €1bn debut fund


A former star dealmaker at Apax Partners has raised €625 million for a new €1 billion fund two months after his departure from the buyout firm, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Michael Phillips, the former head of Apax Germany who led the firm’s hugely profitable investment in fashion brand Tommy Hilfiger, is raising the capital for his newly-created Munich-based buyout firm Castik Capital Partners.

Phillips, once tipped to take the helm at Apax, left the firm in May and has since managed to collect €625 million from five investors for a first close for Castik’s first fund, which has a €1 billion hard cap.

Reaching its hard cap would cement the fund’s position as one of the larger Europe-based first-time private equity funds.

Castik’s three other founding partners are Michael Groeber, a former investment director at European buyout firm Montagu Private Equity; Marc-Oliver Jauch, a former investment professional in the business services team at Apax; and Reiner Löslein, a former director at Allianz Capital Partners, the alternative investment arm of German insurance giant Allianz Group.

The firm’s first fund will invest in four to six businesses in continental Europe, with a core focus on Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Benelux, France, Poland, Czech Republic and Northern Italy. The fund can hold investments for up to 10 years, longer than the traditional five-year holding period for private equity funds. It will invest a maximum of €300 million of ­equity into each business it takes stakes in, but for larger deals it would offer co-investment opportunities to investors.

Phillips was one of Apax’s top dealmakers. Phillips was one of Apax’s top dealmakers, achieving a 2.4 times multiple of invested capital overall for deals he led during his 22-year stint at the London-based firm, according to a person familiar with the matter.

He led 11 deals, including the €1.2 billion public-to-private buyout in 2006 of Tommy Hilfiger, which the firm sold in 2010 for €2.2 billion to US clothing giant Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation.

Phillips was known to have a close alliance with Apax chairman Martin Halusa and was once tipped to take over as chief executive, but did not put himself forward in the election for chief executive last year.

Phillips joins other former Apax executives who have recently set up their own firms, including former Apax Spain executives Oriel Pinya, Borja Martinez de la Rosa and Javier Rigau, who have since set up Barcelona-based firm Abac Capital; and Ian Jones, a former partner at Apax who has since set up Magnesium Capital.