Apax Partners has agreed to sell its controlling ownership stake in money exchange Travelex to billionaire investor B.R. Shetty and private equity firm Centurion Investment for a reported $1.5 billion.
Linklaters is advising Shetty as well as the equity partners in Abu Dhabi-based Centurion, while Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett are taking the lead outside counsel roles for Apax.
Travelex is the world’s largest retail foreign exchange specialist, according to Apax, which bought its controlling stake in the company in 2005.
Shetty is a major shareholder of UAE Exchange, a fast-growing money transfer and exchange company with 700 offices in 32 countries and a global customer base of 6 million that is heavily involved in remittances by foreign workers to their home countries. Shetty also owns interests in companies that do business in the food, beverage and hospitality industries as well as Neopharma, a pharmaceutical company in the UAE.
Centurion, which is owned and controlled by United Arab Emirates investor Saeed Bin Butti Al Qubaisi, has invested in a number of Shetty’s ventures, according to an Apax press release.
Under the terms of the deal, which was announced last week, Travelex is expected to remain separate from UAE Exchange. Travelex founder and chairman Lloyd Dorfman will become president of the company under its new ownership, while CEO Peter Jackson and the existing management team will stay on in their current roles, according to Travelex.
The acquisition is subject to regulatory and other approvals. While the financial terms, including the closing date, were not disclosed, The New York Times and various other media outlets, including Bloomberg Businessweek, pegged the transaction’s value at at least $1.5 billion.
The Simpson team advising Apax is led by London-based corporate partners Nicholas Shaw and Mark Brod. The firm has handled a number of matters for Apax in the past, representing the British buyout shop in its acquisition of a 50.1 percent interest in the Trader Media Group from Guardian Media Group in January for a reported $985.2 million, according to Reuters, and its sale of Dealer.com to Dealer Track Technologies in December 2013 for roughly $1 billion.
Also counseling Apax on the deal with Shetty and Centurion are Freshfields corporate partner Farah Ispahani and senior associate James Scott in London.
London-based Macfarlanes provided additional counsel for Apax, while Berwin Leighton Paisner advised Travelex, with a team led by commercial partner Richard Shaw and associate Benjamin Wheeler.
The Linklaters team representing Shetty and Centurion is being led by corporate partner Nick Garland. Partner Savi Hebbur and associate Thomas Friedlein in London and finance partner Kieron Zaman in Dubai are also working on the matter.
Apax is part owner of ALM Media LLC, the parent company and publisher of The Am Law Daily.