Apax Partners’ recently announced take private of BankRate is an encouraging sign for PE m&a. Mega-sized firms have been pretty quiet of late despite sitting on billions, and have spent more time marking down old investments than making new ones. Apax’s 20 odd-member media group hasn’t done a deal in over a year and you can tell they’re serious/excited about BankRate. Should Apax walk away from their offer, they’ve agreed to pay the full purchase price anyway of $570,800,000.
Apax’s offer for BankRate is all cash. Given the current state of m&a, you’d think this is just a reflection of continued tight credit markets, however prior transactions in boom years proves otherwise. Apax’s $1.6 billion take private of Tommy Hilfiger in 2006 and its $7.5 billion acquisition of Thomson Learning (with OMERS Capital) in 2007 were also all cash.