Mayer and SJ Berwin oversee Apax IT divestments to Azini

Mayer Brown and SJ Berwin were the firms at the forefront on Apax Partners’ sale of 16 technology companies to Azini Capital.

Apax turned to longstanding adviser SJ Berwin, with a team led by corporate partner Perry Yam and featuring funds partner Nigel van Zyl, financial markets partner Tamasin Little and tax ­partner Stephen Pevsner.

Mayer Brown took the mandate acting for Azini on the transaction, with ­corporate partner David Bates leading the team.

SJ Berwin has advised Apax on several major ­investments in recent years, including a $956m (£592m) investment by China Investment Corporation earlier this year – a deal that snared it the Corporate Team of the Year gong at The Lawyer Awards.

The current deal saw SJ Berwin again advise Apax as it folded the companies into two limited partnerships to be sold to Azini. The divestments mark the end of the private equity house’s involvement in venture ­capital investments as it looks to concentrate on ­larger leveraged buyouts.

The deal came simultaneously with Azini raising a $100m fund, backed by Lexington Partners, to finance the purchase.

On the fundraising, Azini turned to Macfarlanes, marking the City firm’s first mandate for the buyout house. Funds partner Stephen Sims led the transaction for ­Macfarlanes, with corporate tax partner Mark Baldwin advising on the tax structure.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett advised Lexington, fielding a team led by New York corporate partner ­Barrie Covit.

Sims said the deal was a sign that private equity houses were beginning to consolidate into core areas and abandon the diversification that marked previous strategies.

He commented: “It’s an interesting transaction in that it shows all the things that are going on in the ­private equity market. We’re seeing fund managers focus in particular areas.”

Sims added that the twin transactions also signified a move away from ’blind pool’ investments, where the assets on which the capital will be spent are not known at the time of the investment.

“There’s a trend towards this type of investment,” he said. “Investors are also now writing bigger cheques for the funds they like.”