News - 2010

Azini Successfully Completes Regulatory Approvals

Azini Capital Partners LLP (“Azini”) today announces that it has successfully completed a number of new regulatory approvals

Azini has varied its scope of permissions with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), in compliance with the Alternative Investment Fund Managers (AIFM) Regulations 2013, and has been approved as a Small Authorised UK AIFM (Sub-Threshold).

Azini has also been entered in the register of Small Registered UK AIFMs, as an EuVECA manager under the EuVECA Regulations 2013. Introduced as part of the EU action plan to improve access to finance for small and medium companies, EuVECA registration will, for example, allow Azini to market EU qualifying funds to certain EU investors in the form of a "marketing passport". 

Azini Capital has been registered as an Exempt Reporting Adviser with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for some time. However Azini is also now able to confirm that it is compliant with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), and has registered directly with the IRS of the United States. Azini has been allocated a Global Intermediary Identification Number for each of its Registered Deemed-Compliant Financial Institutions.

Nick Habgood, Managing Partner of Azini Capital commented; “As a firm we have always considered regulatory compliance and money laundering prevention to be a critically important component of our business and as such we continue to invest senior management time and effort to ensure that we keep Azini Capital at the forefront with respect to regulatory changes.”

Azini Sells Mobixell

Azini Capital announces that it has completed the sale of its shareholding in Mobixell Networks to Israeli company Flash Networks.

Based in Tel Aviv, Israel, Mobixell is a leading provider of video optimisation and monetization solutions, serving mobile network operators around the world.

Azini Capitals shareholding in Mobixell was part of a leading portfolio acquired from Apax Partners in October 2010. Other shareholders included Escalate Capital and Intel Capital.

About Mobixell

Mobixell Networks provides intelligent mobile Internet solutions to mobile operators that optimize data networks and maximize data profitability. Mobixell’s flagship product, Seamless Access, enables mobile operators to intelligently manage, optimize, and monetize the surging mobile data and video traffic while giving subscribers an exceptional user experience. Mobixell has dozens of deployments around the world, including Verizon, Vodafone, Bharti, Orange, XLcom, TIM, and Telefonica. Founded in 2000, Mobixell has offices in the US, UK, and Israel, and presence in Germany, Switzerland, Finland, India, Indonesia, and China.

Azini Sells OB10

Azini Capital has completed the £100 million sale of portfolio company OB10 Limited (OB10) as a part of the £225 million IPO of Tungsten Corporation plc (Tungsten).

Tungsten, a business founded by private equity and City rainmaker Edmund Truell, has successfully completed its £225 million IPO on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange. The listing raised £160 million to fund the acquisition of OB10 and was significantly oversubscribed. Tungsten shares commenced trading on 16th October. OB10 shareholders, including Azini, have taken 30% of their consideration in Tungsten shares.

During Azini Capitals period of ownership OB10 established itself as a leading global e-invoicing network; and now processes more than £100 billion annually for many of the worlds largest companies (including working with 61% of the FTSE 100 and 53% of the Fortune 500). Founded in 2000, OB10 is headquartered in London, with offices in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. The OB10 network hosts 122 large corporate and governmental buyer groups and over 140,000 suppliers. Tungsten has an agreement - subject to appropriate regulatory approvals - to acquire a duly authorised UK bank to specialise in the provision of supply chain financing and invoice discounting to OB10s customer base. Luke McKeever, Chief Executive of OB10, commented “Azini Capital has been a leading investor and supporter of OB10 and were instrumental to my joining the business in 2011. As an active member of the board of directors, Azini played a key role in defining the direction and plan that ultimately led to OB10s success and were heavily involved at every stage in the sale process”. Nick Habgood, Managing Partner of Azini Capital and board director of OB10 commented, “This is another really good exit for our Azini 1 fund which was established in 2007. We would like to thank Luke and his team for their extraordinary commitment and hard work over the past months and years. Tungsten is a great home for OB10 and we wish them all the very best of luck for the future.

Tungsten to Acquire OB10

Tungsten enters into agreement to acquire Azini portfolio company OB10

Tungsten Corporation plc. has today announced that it has entered into an agreement with shareholders of OB10 Limited, including Azini Capital, regarding the conditional acquisition of OB10.

OB10 is a leading global B2B cloud based e-invoicing network processing over £100bn per annum in invoice value through its network. The company was founded in 2000 and has won 122 buyer-side clients, many of whom are Fortune 500 and FTSE 100 companies, including HP, Kraft, Unilever, GSK, J&J, BP and Tesco. On the “supplier-side” OB10 has a network of over 140,000 registered suppliers and is active in 42 countries. The shareholders of OB10 will receive £99 million comprising a 70:30 split of cash and Tungsten shares. Tungsten intends to seek the admission of its shares to trading on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange and to raise up to £160 million via the placing of new shares.

Azini Acknowledged by Prequin

Azini Capital’s investment performance acknowledged

Azini Capital’s investment performance has been acknowledged in a new “2013 Consistent Performers in Private Equity” report, from Preqin a leading source of alternative assets industry data and intelligence.

The Azini 2 fund, which was formed in 2010 to acquire a portfolio of shareholdings from Apax Partners, has been credited number 6 in the category “Top 10 Best Performing Europe-Focused Funds (Fund Size $100mn+, Vintage 2006 - 2010)”. It was the only Direct Secondaries fund to make the list. The Preqin report analyzes the most consistent performing fund managers for buyout, venture capital and fund of funds vehicles utilising Preqin’s fund-by-fund returns data for over 6,300 private equity funds, representing 70% of the total capital raised by the industry. Lexington Partners - the world’s largest independent manager of secondary private equity and co-investment funds - is the principal investor in the Azini 2 fund. For further details see here.

Azini Exits Centerbeam

EarthLink, Inc. (NASDAQ: ELNK), a leading IT services and communications provider, has agreed to acquire Azini Capitals portfolio company CenterBeam Inc. for $22 million. The transaction is structured as an asset purchase and is expected to close early in the third quarter of 2013.

Headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA, CenterBeam provides remote managed IT services to multi-location mid-sized US businesses. The company operates a 140-person IT Support and network operations center providing help desk, technical support and application support services.

Azini acquired its stake in Centerbeam from Apax in October 2010 and subsequently led two rounds of funding into the company to become CenterBeam’s largest shareholder. With $1.35 billion in revenue (FY2012), Earthlink has the resources and reach to accelerate the adoption and deployment of CenterBeams award winning services. EarthLink intends to accelerate its product capabilities for hosted collaboration services and unified end point management services and to offer CenterBeams 365+ Enterprise Cloud service, which provides a full suite of collaboration services, along with its nationwide Hosted Voice platform, through its existing distribution channels. Nick Habgood of Azini Capital said “On behalf of Azini Capital I would like to thank CenterBeams management and staff for their hard work and commitment - the essential ingredient in making this exit possible. We are confident that Earthlink will be a great home for the Centerbeam business, its customers and staff. We wish you all the best of luck going forward”.

Nasdaq to Implement Corvil

NASDAQ OMX to Implement Corvil Operational Performance Monitoring Across U.S. Trading Platforms

First Exchange Group to Deploy Independent Solution to Better Serve Regulatory Functions for Member Firms

The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:NDAQ) has announced plans to implement CorvilNet, an independent solution for operational performance monitoring that provides a new level of visibility, safeguards and protection for the exchange groups U.S. trading platforms. CorvilNet is powered by Corvil, the leading provider of real-time operational performance monitoring for wire data. NASDAQ OMX will leverage CorvilNet to better serve member firms that contribute to the exchange groups deeply liquid marketplaces. CorvilNets operational performance monitoring system provides the exchange group with the ability to simultaneously analyze activity at the network, application and trading layers. The comprehensive information that is captured will allow the exchange group to alert for anomalies in real time and improve technology systems performance. Advanced diagnostic tools may be used to track the full life cycle of a trade, enhancing NASDAQ OMSs ability to respond effectively to member firm queries relating to technical issues, performance levels, or trading outcomes. In addition, the independently developed tool will strengthen NASDAQ OMXs ability to ensure compliance in a fragmented marketplace with heightened focus on transparency. The exchange group will use CorvilNet to support regulatory functions such as tracking all outbound data feeds to member firms and the Securities Information Processors. With an enhanced view into its system NASDAQ OMX will continue to optimize its core INET trading engine, which powers 1 in 10 of the worlds security transactions.

Azini Exits Investis

Azini Capital has completed the sale of its interest in Investis Ltd to the companys management, in a £25million buyout backed by Gresham Private Equity. In addition, Investis also announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Morningstar Investor Relations Services, formerly Hemscott IR.

Headquartered in London, Investis is Europes leading specialist in digital investor relations and corporate communications for public companies.

Investis works with over 1,000 companies in 30 countries including more than half of the FTSE 100. Services include corporate websites, social media solutions, apps and mobile sites, video and webcasting, website tools and integrated online reporting. Specialist direct secondary investor Azini Capital became the largest shareholder in Investis through its acquisition in late 2008 of Lynx Capital Ventures, owned by Bear Stearns Capital Corp / JP Morgan. Azini Capital subsequently increased its stake in the company via the acquisition of shares from bEurope, one of the original founders of Investis. Paul Hill of Azini Capital commented “The sale of Investis is an excellent result for Azini Capital and represents the eighth significant portfolio company sale in the past 2 years. We would like to take the opportunity to thank the Investis team for their help and support throughout the sale process”. For further information see here

CorvilNet Solution

Corvil solution provides network visibility, market data health and transaction analysis

Corvil, a provider of latency management systems for global financial markets, announced that Chi-X Australia, Chi-X Canada and Chi-X Japan have deployed the CorvilNet Latency Management System.

The CorvilNet solution enables users to monitor and analyze network latency and microbursts, market data health, participant order flow and trade performance. In addition, the ability to generate flexible reports using Corvil’s Latency Dashboards and Navigator provides Chi-X and its participants with access to critical performance metrics.

“As we continue to look for new ways to enhance our customer’s experience and optimize execution quality, CorvilNet will allow us to better measure participants’ performance, leading to a deeper dialogue on how they can best utilize our trading infrastructure. As trading participants’ needs evolve and they look to adapt to the changing landscape, having greater visibility into system performance has never been more critical," said Tal Cohen, CEO, Chi-X Global.

Donal Byrne, Corvil CEO, said: “We understand Chi-X’s need to provide participants with latency and performance analysis as they look to optimize the performance of trading systems. It’s a great endorsement that our CorvilNet Solution has been deployed by Chi-X to demonstrate the high performance and high capacity of their trading venues.”

Azini Exits Frontier Silicon

Azini Capital has completed the sale of its interest in Frontier Silicon Limited to Toumaz Limited (AIM: TMZ). The transaction represented a total value for outstanding equity and loan stock of up to $60 million.

Frontier Silicon is the market-leading supplier of chips and modules into the global digital audio market, with its products being used in many of the leading consumer electronics companies‘ DAB radios. Frontier is also a leader in internet-connected radio and streaming audio. The company‘s customers include Bose, Bang and Olufsen, Pure, Philips, Sony, Panasonic, Sirius XM and Yamaha.

Specialist secondary investor Azini Capital acquired its interest in Frontier Silicon from Apax Partners in October 2010 as part of a portfolio of 18 companies. Michael Bennett of Azini Capital commented "The sale of Frontier Silicon represents another very strong exit from our portfolio. It is pleasing to be able to report that, in the past 2 years, Azini Capital has completed the sale of seven significant portfolio companies with a total enterprise value of more than $1 billion. This reflects positively in terms of fund performance and places Azini in a very strong position for the future".

Azini Exits Starhome

Azini Capital together with co-investors Comverse Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: CMVT), Gemini Israeli Ventures and other minority shareholders entered into an agreement to sell Starhome BV to funds managed by Israeli private equity firm Fortissimo Capital for $80.3 million in cash. The transaction is expected to close in October 2012.

Starhome is a provider of wireless service mobility solutions that enhance international roaming. Mobile network operators use Starhome‘s software-based solutions to generate additional revenue and to improve profitability by directing international roaming traffic to preferred networks and by providing a wide range of services to subscribers traveling outside their home network. Starhome’s solutions deliver over 50% of all global daily roaming traffic.

Starhome is based in the Netherlands with operating subsidiaries in Israel and Switzerland and sales offices around the world. Specialist secondary investor Azini Capital acquired its interest in Starhome from Apax Partners in October 2010 as part of a portfolio of 18 companies. Nick Habgood of Azini Capital commented “The sale of Starhome is an excellent result for Azini Capital and represents the sixth significant portfolio company sale in the past 2 years. We would like to take the opportunity to thank the Comverse team for their help and support throughout the sale process”. The vendors were advised by Barclays Capital together with law firms Naschitz, Brandes & Co. (Israel), Mayer Brown International LLP (London) and Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP (New York). About Starhome For further information about Starhome see www.starhome.com For information regarding the acquisition of the Apax Partners’ portfolio see http://www.azini.com/news/2010/apax-portfolio-acquired

Cath Kidston opts for iForce

iForce secures 3 year contract to manage Cath Kidston’s fulfilment of retail store, online and wholesale orders as well as customer and store returns

iForce, the UK’s market leading Logistics solutions company, has added Cath Kidston to its raft of premium clients, alongside John Lewis, Waitrose Wine and Sainsburys. The three year contract with inspirational lifestyle retailer Cath Kidston goes live this month, covering store replenishment, online fulfilment and returns processing, supporting increased growth and efficiency for the brand.

iForce will replenish all 54 of Cath Kidston’s UK and Irish stores and concessions from Cath Kidston’s existing warehouse in St Neots in Cambridgeshire, and will also provide some of the merchandise required to support its franchised international stores in Thailand, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. iForce will be responsible for all e-fulfilment and replenishment logistics, ensuring all orders are fulfilled on time and returns are processed efficiently. This outsourcing deal will also include the transfer of Cath Kidston’s existing warehouse team to iForce.

iForce’s innovative and bespoke warehouse management and carriage management systems (SMaRT and IRS), are being deployed with the key focus of increasing efficiencies and reducing operating costs. The SMaRT system ensures that stock can be held as common stock for all sales channels thus increasing overall availability across the whole business

Kenny Wilson, CEO for Cath Kidston said: “iforce demonstrated to us through the tender process that they possessed market leading technology supported by the operational know how that will provide us with the capability of supporting and enhancing our current fulfilment operations across all of our sales channels.”

Mark Hewitt, CEO for iForce said: “Cath Kidston is one of Britain’s most celebrated and innovative design brands and we are delighted to be able to bring a new dimension to their store and direct to consumer order fulfilment. I’d also like to extend a warm welcome to all new iForce employees working in the Cath Kidston St Neots warehouse. We look forward to working with them on enhancing Cath Kidston’s service even further.”

CenterBeam Receives Multiple Service Awards

CenterBeam, Inc.’s passionate focus on successful delivery and customer service is attracting recognition as the company wins four awards in the first half of 2012.

CenterBeam Inc., a leading provider of outsourced IT solutions for mid-size US corporations was awarded both a 2012 MarketTools ACE (Achievement in Customer Excellence) Award and the 2012 MarketTools ACE Award for Best Use of EFM to Drive Overall Business Impact. These honors recognize CenterBeam’s use of enterprise feedback management (EFM) to positively impact its business through revenue growth and increased client retention.

CenterBeam won a prestigious 2012 Gold Stevie® Award, considered the Oscar Award for business, in the Customer Service Department of the Year category in the sixth annual Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. The company was honored for its continual efforts to improve customer service and for delivering customer satisfaction rates that are among the highest in the industry. HP also announced that CenterBeam had won the HP AllianceONE Partner of the Year Award. The award recognizes HP business partners' outstanding accomplishments in the development and delivery of innovative solutions built on HP Converged Infrastructure that raise the standard for business excellence and client satisfaction. Winners are chosen for delivering solutions that drive meaningful business results. CenterBeam was honored for its development and deployment of a secure, scalable cloud-based B2B infrastructure for food maker Chipita America. Azini Capital acquired an interest in CenterBeam from Apax Partners in October 2010 and has since become CenterBeam’s largest shareholder. Nick Habgood of Azini Capital commented, “In a world obsessed with the newest and hottest technology these awards demonstrate that customers still understand and appreciate the importance of successful implementation and customer service. It is great to see CenterBeam’s focus and success in these areas recognized and rewarded”. About CenterBeam CenterBeam is a pioneer in delivering hosted services and for the past decade has focused on providing mid-sized businesses with enterprise-class IT management, services and support. CenterBeam differentiates itself through its broad service portfolio, providing a cohesive IT solution no matter where a customer’s infrastructure resides—on premise or in the cloud. Today, the company delivers more than 180,000 daily services in an integrated solution to end users on six continents, across 49 countries.

OneSpin Investment

Azini Capital Funds OneSpin Solutions to Accelerate Growth

New funding enables strategic extensions to Company’s product portfolio and corresponding expansion of its sales and distribution network

OneSpin Solutions, an EDA company that provides innovative formal assertion-based verification solutions to chip and systems designers, today announced that it has secured new funding from its major shareholder, Azini Capital. The investment will finance strategic extensions to the company’s portfolio of solutions for the formal verification and equivalence checking of both SoC/ASIC and FPGA designs, together with the development and deployment of a range of solutions targeted at new adopters. The company has also announced a management change, with Raik Brinkmann, who joined the company at its inception in 2005, assuming the role of President and Chief Executive Officer, to lead and manage the company’s growth strategy.

“Since acquiring OneSpin in January 2011, we have been hugely impressed by the calibre of the team and the outstanding quality of the Company’s products. OneSpin already solves the verification challenges of several of the world’s leading semiconductor and electronic system companies. However, we share the management’s confidence that with this additional investment the company can further broaden its customer base. Our decision to invest in OneSpin underlines our confidence in the long-term future of the company.” said Paul Hill, Partner of Azini Capital.

Raik Brinkmann, OneSpin’s new President and CEO said “While the market’s use of formal verification technology has increased dramatically in recent years, the EDA industry could do even more to address the mass market of engineers who want to adopt formal verification solutions, but still have little or no expertise in their use. The new funding will enable us to address this significant market opportunity by developing and providing easy-to-use formal solutions targeted at specific, well-defined verification challenges, giving new adopters an easier and faster entry into the use of formal methods.”

About OneSpin Solutions

Headquartered in Munich, OneSpin was established in May 2005 as a commercial EDA company by Infineon AG and Apax Partners. It leverages over 300 engineer-years of formal verification technology development and application service experience accumulated at Infineon and Siemens. The company’s award-winning solutions enable customers to avoid costly redesigns and respins, while dramatically reducing their verification effort and costs, and significantly reducing time-to-market. Market-leading telecommunications, automotive, consumer electronics, and embedded systems companies rely on OneSpin's award-winning products to substantially reduce verification effort and achieve the industry’s highest-possible verification quality.

For further information please visit www.onespin-solutions.com

Shazam Super Bowl Touchdown

Shazam continues to break new ground after an exciting year in 2011.

On 5 February, Shazam kick-started a revolution in the world of TV advertising when the Shazam logo appeared within a number of television advertising campaigns during the US Super Bowl, an event known for its cutting-edge advertising as much as for the game itself. Shazam for TV, which was launched in 2010, enables viewers to use the Shazam Application (via their smart phones or tablet computers (the “second-screen”), to access additional product information and vouchers, enter sweepstakes for major prizes, view special content and to download free music. It creates, for the first time, a direct real-time dialogue between the TV advertiser and the consumer.

The company reported that Shazam-enabled adverts aired to the Super Bowl’s estimated 90 million viewers drove record levels of consumer engagement. The remainder of 2012 should see further exciting opportunities as Shazam partners with global brands, establishing itself as the clear market leader in second-screen interactive TV.

In 2011 Shazam’s revenues grew by 47% on the previous year, and the company continues to scale, with currently over 180 million users. In June 2011 the company announced that it had raised $32m of fresh funding, predominantly from new external investors, to support the company’s continued growth. The funding also enabled the company to reacquire its core Intellectual Property from Broadcast Music Inc, allowing unrestricted integration of the technology into the company’s services and expanding product set.

Azini Capital, through its Lynx Capital Ventures fund, continues to support its investment in Shazam with the company looking set for an exciting period.

About Shazam

Shazam’s core music recognition technology is widely recognised as the best and most accurate, and enables anyone with a mobile phone to identify music that is playing, wherever they are, simply by Shazaming it. That was the launch pad but Shazam is now used in a variety of ways: Shazamers can use it to discover new music, search for a specific interest, buy a range of music products, marking a track to buy it later, or just to create a collection and even pass it on to friends and family through the Shazam Friends feature. Shazam for TV enables customers to tag their favourite shows or commercials to access exclusive content, contests and other information.

For more information visit the Shazam website.

BlueArc Sold to Hitachi

Azini Capital is pleased to announce that portfolio company BlueArc Corporation has been acquired by Hitachi Data Systems Corporation (HDS), a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd. (NYSE: HIT).

A number of sources have reported that Hitachi paid an estimated $600 million in cash to acquire the company. Azini Capital acquired a minority interest in BlueArc from Apax Partners in October 2010 as a part of a broader portfolio of companies.

BlueArc is Azini Capital’s fifth significant portfolio company sale in the past 14 months. For further information, visit here.

About BlueArc

BlueArc develops and sells clustered NAS systems for storing and managing digital content and unstructured (file-based) data. The company’s products use a scalable file system that allows for multiple storage appliances (nodes) to be managed as a single pool. As customer capacity requirements grow, new storage nodes can be added and legacy storage systems can be incorporated into the BlueArc namespace for better utilization of assets. BlueArc’s products are important for high-end file repositories, such as media and entertainment, genomics, Web 2.0, eDiscovery and oil and gas exploration. BlueArc has been increasingly positioning its branded products toward mainstream enterprise virtualization environments.

About Hitachi Data Systems

Hitachi Data Systems provides best-in-class information technologies, services and solutions that deliver compelling customer ROI, unmatched return on assets (ROA) and demonstrable business impact. With a vision that IT must be virtualized, automated, cloud-ready and sustainable, Hitachi Data Systems offers solutions that improve IT costs and agility. With more than 4,900 employees worldwide, Hitachi Data Systems does business in more than 100 countries and regions. Hitachi Data Systems products, services and solutions are trusted by the world’s leading enterprises, including more than 70% of the Fortune 100 and more than 80% of the Fortune Global 100. Hitachi Data Systems believes that data drives our world – and information is the new currency. 

Sale of Digital Fuel to VMware

Azini Capital is pleased to announce that it has sold its shareholding in Digital Fuel to VMware, Inc. a U.S. software company that provides cloud and virtualization software and services

Azini Capital’s shareholding in Digital Fuel was one of a portfolio of interests that were acquired from Apax Partners in October 2010. Terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed.

Digital Fuel is the second significant sale from Azini Capital’s second fund which was raised in October 2010 with investment from Lexington Partners. Portfolio company, Streamserve was acquired by OpenText Corporation in November 2010.

Nick Habgood of Azini Capital said; “We are very pleased with the highly successful sale of Digital Fuel to VMware and would like to thank Digital Fuel’s CEO, Yisrael Dancziger, the management team and all of the staff for their commitment and hard work. We wish them the very best of luck as Digital Fuel enters a new and exciting phase of development within VMware”.

About Digital Fuel

Digital Fuel Technologies, Inc. provides easy to use and fast to deploy IT Financial Management SaaS solutions that plan, bill, and optimize IT cost and value. Digital Fuel’s customers include BASF, BBC, BT, Capita, Capital One, Capgemini, Cisco, CSC, Cummins, Dell, Deutsche Bank, First Horizon, GE, Hospira, IBM, Independence Blue Cross, Nationwide, Nestle, Procter & Gamble, Siemens, Sprint, Starwood, Steria, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Telus, Telefonica, Unisys, Volkswagen, Wipro, and many more.

About VMware

VMware delivers virtualization and cloud infrastructure solutions that enable IT organizations to energize businesses of all sizes. With the industry leading virtualization platform - VMware vSphere(R) - customers rely on VMware to reduce capital and operating expenses, improve agility, ensure business continuity, strengthen security and go green. With 2010 revenues of $2.9 billion, more than 250,000 customers and 25,000 partners, VMware is the leader in virtualization, which consistently ranks as a top priority among CIOs. VMware is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout the world. More information can be found at www.vmware.com

Azini Capital invests in OB10

Azini Capital announces that it has co-led a round of investment into OB10, the leading global e-Invoicing network.

The funding, which was jointly led by Azini Capital, Cargill and Fleming Family and Partners, raised a total of $6.4 million of new capital which will be used to support the on-going growth and development of the company - specifically regional expansion and product development.

The investment comes on the back of significant growth in 2010 in which revenues grew by 30 percent and transaction volumes by 54 percent.

“The e-Invoicing market is experiencing a period of significant change with many more firms realising both the financial and efficiency gains to be made by switching from paper to electronic,” commented Stefan Foryszewski, SVP Business and Product Development, OB10. “This latest investment clearly highlights the confidence from our investors in our future business growth and positions us well to take on the expanding marketplace.”

Nick Habgood of Azini Capital said; “In order to support the current levels of growth, it is critical that OB10 continues to invest in product development and customer support. This funding demonstrates the shareholders’ commitment to the company.”

About OB10

OB10 is the leading global B2B e-Invoicing network. OB10 simplifies and streamlines the complex invoice-to-pay processes. Neither client organizations nor their suppliers are required to implement any hardware or software, and OB10 is independent of data file formats. OB10 can reduce the cost of paper invoice processing by typically 60 percent and can deliver a return on investment of less than a year if the programme follows OB10’s best practice guidelines. Operational across Europe, North America and Asia, OB10 is compliant with the requirements of VAT, tax and e-Invoicing legislation and receives invoices from suppliers across 137 countries. To ensure unrivalled and rapid supplier enrolment, each new customer’s suppliers are supported by an implementation services team responsible for getting them up and running on the OB10 network.

For more information visit www.OB10.com.

Azini Sells Two Software Businesses

Azini Capital is pleased to announce that it has successfully completed sale of two AIM listed software business which, together have returned 70% of the drawn capital in its first fund.

Focus Solutions plc, which was listed on AIM, provides software and consultancy solutions that enable large financial services organisations to automate the sale and delivery of financial products and services - including life assurance, mortgages, pensions and investments - to their customers across multiple distribution channels. The company's customers included HSBC, Barclays, Prudential, Aviva and Axa.

Azini 1 acquired interests in Focus Solutions between May 2008 and December 2008 to become the company's largest shareholder with a holding of just under 30%. The company was acquired by Standard Life plc in January 2011 for approximately $76million.

Portrait Software plc. was also AIM listed. Its software solutions allow large organisations to engage with customers at an individual and person level to deliver improved customer profitability, increased retention, reduced risk, and outstanding customer experiences. Portrait's customers include Tesco Bank, Chelsea Building Society, Merrill Lynch, T Mobile and Dell.

Azini 1 built a stake in the business between March 2008 and May 2008 to became Portrait's second largest shareholder with a 20% holding. Portrait Software was sold to Pitney Bowes Inc. in July 2010 for approximately $72million.

Return on investment - Together Azini 1's investments in Focus Solutions and Portrait Software have delivered a 4x return on investment and an IRR in excess of 70%. With 3 years elapsed, these proceeds have allowed Azini 1 to return 70% of the drawn capital to its investors - Lexington Partners and Greenpark Capital. The fund retains holdings in a further 7 companies.

Richard Stephenson, Chief Executive of Focus Solutions said “Nick (Habgood of Azini Capital) joined the board of Focus in January 2009 and has made a really positive contribution. He is challenging and constructive in board meetings; engaged and hard working outside of the boardroom." "Nick was directly involved in all aspects of the sale of the company to Standard Life. His involvement – with the company and the sale process - made a significant difference to the timing and value of the outcome."

Azini Capital acquires OneSpin Solutions

Azini Capital today announced it has completed the acquisition of OneSpin Solutions GmbH from founding investors Apax Partners and Infineon AG.

Azini has also completed an additional investment in OneSpin to accelerate the company's growth and development. OneSpin is a leading supplier of formal verification solutions for detecting all errors in the design of complex integrated circuits (semiconductor chips).

Headquartered in Munich, OneSpin was established in May 2005 as a commercial EDA company by Infineon AG and Apax Partners. It leverages more than 270 engineer-years of formal verification technology development and application service experience gained at Infineon and Siemens. The company’s award-winning solutions let customers dramatically reduce their verification effort and costs, avoid costly redesigns and respins, and significantly decrease time-to-market.

“Our decision to invest in OneSpin underlines our confidence in the future of the company, based on the growth the business is seeing for its verification solutions,” said Paul Hill, Partner of Azini Capital. “We have no doubt that the dynamics in the semiconductor market at large will drive growing demand for OneSpin’s products, and that we can help OneSpin fulfill its potential.”

“We’re delighted to have attracted an investor with such expertise,” said Peter Feist, president and CEO of OneSpin. “Azini has rapidly demonstrated its understanding of both the challenges facing the company and OneSpin’s considerable potential. I am confident that with Azini’s support, we will be able to achieve our ambitions for the company.”

About OneSpin Solutions

Electronic Design Automation (EDA) company OneSpin Solutions delivers innovative formal verification solutions that ease and speed the functional verification of complex ASIC and FPGA designs. Market-leading telecommunications, automotive, consumer electronics, and embedded systems companies rely on OneSpin's award-winning products to substantially reduce verification effort and achieve the industry’s highest-possible verification quality.

For further information visit the OneSpin website.

Azini Invests in Mobixell

Azini Capital leads $10 million financing round in Mobixell Networks

Mobixell Networks, a leading provider of rich-media mobile data solutions, announced today that it has raised $10 million from major global investors, enabling the company to further pursue its ambitious growth strategy by providing mobile rich-data optimization and management solutions to mobile operators. The round was led by Azini Capital and included existing investors; Escalate Capital, Intel Capital and smac partners.

The new investment will facilitate the company's flagship product, Mobixell Seamless Access, to further support mobile operators achieve overall network efficiency, web and video consumption as well as data services monetization, while simultaneously improving endā€user experience and reducing operators' total cost of ownership (TCO). Seamless Access provides intelligent optimization techniques for media and video, including behavioral based optimization, caching, content aware transcoding, and network aware optimization (dynamic bit rate adaptation and automatic cell congestion detection).

"The funding strengthens Mobixell's financial stability assisting us in penetrating and realizing the growing markets of mobile Internet, mobile traffic management and mobile data optimization, as well as in furthering our commercial deployment worldwide" said Amir Aharoni, CEO and Founder of Mobixell. "Securing funding from our existing leading partners is a vote of confidence in the company's business, products, technology and its management".

About Mobixell Networks

Mobixell will be celebrating its 10th year of operation this year, marking "a decade of innovation" in providing mobile rich media Internet solutions to the changing needs of the market. The company has presence in multiple countries around the world including U.S., UK, China, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Finland, Ireland, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, India, Japan Israel and other countries. Its customer base amounts to more than 350 mobile operators worldwide, including Verizon Wireless, Vodafone, Telefonica, Orange, Telecom Italia and China Mobile. 

Azini Capital completes sale of Streamserve

Azini Capital announces that it has completed the sale of its interest in Streamserve Inc. a leading provider of business communication solutions to Open Text Corporation (NASDAQ: OTEX, TSX: OTC) as a part of a $75 million sale of the company. Proceeds from the sale will be shared between Azini Capital and Apax Partners – from whom Azini Capital recently acquired the interest.

Azini Capital’s sale proceeds were not disclosed but commenting on the sale, Michael Bennett, Managing Partner of Azini Capital said: “We are delighted to have achieved the first sale from our recently formed Azini 2 fund and would like to congratulate and thank Peter Skinner, Chairman, Dennis Ladd, Chief Executive and the rest of the Streamserve team for their commitment and hard work”.

StreamServe offers enterprise business communication solutions that help organizations address the “last mile” of communication between themselves and their customers. With StreamServe’s software, companies can process and deliver highly personalized documents in any paper or electronic format - automatically creating documents through rules-based dynamic assembly and present them to customers, partners, and suppliers, in multiple formats and through whichever channel they prefer.

For more information, visit the Streamserve website.

Azini Capital acquires Apax portfolio

Apax sells portfolio of technology companies to Azini Capital

Azini Capital announces that it has completed the acquisition of two partnerships from Apax Partners, one of the world’s leading private equity firms. The two partnerships own interests in 16 growth and development stage technology companies spanning the UK, Israel, the USA and the Republic of Ireland.

The funding for the transaction was provided by Lexington Partners, the world’s largest independent manager of secondary private equity and co-investment funds.

The value of the sale was not disclosed but Azini 2 LLP, which has acquired the two partnerships, is a $100 million fund and includes significant reserves to allow Azini Capital to provide additional funding to support the on-going development and growth of the portfolio companies.

Commenting on the sale, Martin Halusa, Chief Executive Officer of Apax Partners said; “Apax's continued growth is driven by its disciplined focus. Today's divestment of venture technology investments represents a further step in the evolution of our strategy. We are very comfortable that we have found an excellent home for these investments with a team that is professional, experienced and committed to working with the portfolio companies and management teams going forward. We wish them all the best for the future.”

Marshall Parke, Partner and Head of the London office of Lexington Partners said; “This is an important transaction for all three organisations, demonstrating how primary fund managers (Apax Partners), secondary fund managers (Azini Capital) and secondary fund of funds managers (Lexington Partners) can work together to craft innovative solutions that benefit limited partners as well as the portfolio companies’ management and co-investors”.

Nick Habgood, Managing Partner of Azini Capital commented; “It is highly unusual to have the opportunity to acquire such good quality assets and we are grateful to both Apax Partners and Lexington Partners for their help and support in making this transaction happen. We look forward to working closely with the boards and management teams in each of the portfolio companies”.

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 Tech & Telecom, Retail & Consumer, Media, Healthcare and Financial & Business Services.

Azini completes investment in iForce

Azini Capital provides further investment for iForce

Azini Capital has completed the refunding of iForce Group, a portfolio company which was acquired as part of the purchase of Lynx Capital Ventures.

The Company had a successful year, growing revenue by over 25% in 2008 and signing a new contract to develop the Sainsbury non food on-line business at a site in Corby with a “go-live” date in the middle of 2009. To provide working capital for this and the move of the company's Head Office from East Molesey to Weybridge, the company raised £3.5 million of new equity from existing shareholders. Lynx took up its pro-rata entitlement and remains the largest single shareholder with over 25% of equity.

For further information visit the iForce website

Azini appoints new FD

Azini Capital is pleased to announce that it has appointed Keith Hoad as the firm's new Finance Director.

Keith is a finance professional with 20 years of experience in the financial sector and has gained his expertise from working with respected names such as Lloyds TSB, Credit Suisse and Robert W Baird.

Keith’s most recent experience saw him establish and maintain all finance, compliance and administration functions associated with a start up private equity firm, investing in renewable energy in Asia. Prior to this, he spent 7 years as part of the Robert W Baird Group, a mid-tier US investment bank, culminating in a board position as European Finance Director. The role focused upon both the M&A business, and a Private Equity business with over £500 million in funds under management.

Keith is a fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.

Azini Capital acquires further shares in Investis Ltd

Investis (a portfolio company which was acquired as part of the recent purchase of Lynx Capital Ventures), completed the acquisition of Quartal Flife Oy, the Finnish-German online investor relations company, in a move which will establish Investis as the clear European leader in online corporate communications.

The combined company will have over 1,000 clients in more than 20 countries, serviced by 180 employees operating in the UK, Germany, Finland, Italy and India. Pro forma revenues of the group in 2008 are around £12m.

As part of this transaction, Azini Capital completed the purchase of further shares in Investis Limited from bEurope, Kenneth Ibbett, partner at Azini Capital said “bEurope, representing the original founders of Investis, needed liquidity and was willing to sell shares. Given previous valuations of the company and its prospects we considered this an excellent opportunity for our fund”.

Azini acquires shareholding in Focus

Azini Capital has completed the purchase of 500,000 shares in Focus Solutions Group plc from it’s founder and former CEO, John Streets.

The disposal of shares by John Streets brings his ownership to 8,000,000 Ordinary Shares, representing 27.15% of total voting rights and Azini 1’s to 8,595,686 Ordinary Shares, representing 29.17% of total voting rights.

This acquisition makes Azini 1 the Company’s largest shareholder. John Streets, Non-Executive Director of Focus, commented: “Following a series of impressive results and contract wins, including posting our best ever half year results, it was an opportune time to release a proportion of the equity I have in the Company.” Nick Habgood, recently appointed Non-Executive Director of Focus and Managing Partner at Azini Capital Partners LLP said: “The decision to take a greater shareholding in Focus Solutions underpins our belief in the future of the Company and the exciting opportunities for its focus:360° product moving forward.” Richard Stevenson, CEO of Focus Solutions, added: “We welcome Azini Capital’s further investment in Focus Solutions and are confident in the support they can provide us to realise our ambitions for the Company.”

Focus Solutions Appointment

Focus Solutions Group plc appoints new non-executive director from Azini Capital

Focus Solutions Group plc, a leading provider of proven enterprise solutions to the financial services market, announces the appointment of Mr. Nicholas John Habgood as a non-executive Director, effective from 1st January 2009, and that Piers Brooke, non-executive Director, has notified the Company of his intention to retire from the Board and accordingly will resign on 31st December 2008.

Azini 1, a fund managed by Azini Capital Partners LLP, owns 8,095,686 ordinary shares in Focus Solutions Group plc, representing 27.48% of the total issued share capital.

Alastair Taylor, Chairman, Focus Solutions Group plc, commented: “I am delighted to welcome Nick Habgood to the Board of Focus. Nick’s significant expertise in investment management and providing capital for growing companies will be of great value. Nick will be complementing the strong skill sets that already exist on our Board.

Keronite succeeds in raising further funding

Keronite Group Ltd, pioneer in advanced surface treatment technology, has today announced the successful completion of a £2 million funding round.

Keronite is the provider of a patented, chrome-free process which transforms the surface of aluminium and magnesium components into a hard ceramic oxide with outstanding resistance to corrosion and wear.

Also known as Plasma Electrolytic Oxidation (PEO), the Keronite® process is free from the heavy metals and noxious chemicals associated with conventional treatments. Potential customers for Keronite either share a desire to reduce component weight without the problems of wear and corrosion traditionally associated with light alloys, or they simply want to add value to their own product by introducing unique aesthetics.

Chairman, Charles Halle, joined Keronite earlier this year to conduct a strategic review and to lead the fund-raising in what turned out to be “somewhat challenging” market conditions. “One investor told me that we had not only chosen the worst year in recent history to be raising funds, but quite possibly the worst week in that year!” Against this background, the Company’s fundraising achievement is all the more remarkable and reflects the excellent opportunity perceived by the Company’s investors.

Halle has switched the Company’s focus from the leasing of equipment and licensing of the technology to a more flexible, market-driven approach, offering funded applications engineering support and the direct provision of Keronite surface treatment service where appropriate. Sales and marketing campaigns will actively target a select group of well-defined market sectors where the technology has already proven successful and economically viable.

Nick Habgood of Azini Capital led the round of investment and demonstrated his faith in the technology by investing the first £1.5 million to become the Company’s largest shareholder. Charles Halle commented “Azini Capital has been an extremely helpful and supportive shareholder. Their confidence in our new strategy and the management’s ability to deliver results confirms to me that we really are heading in the right direction with the business.”

Other investors include a significant number of the Company’s private shareholders represented by Hotbed, RM Walkden & Co Ltd and RK Harrison as well as two new investors, Hawk Investment Holdings Ltd and KBC Peel Hunt.Ltd, who also acted as fund-raising agents for the Company.

With the solid backing of shareholders, Charles Halle and the newly appointed Chief Executive Officer, Steve Murphy, are now looking forward to the challenging year ahead, confident that Keronite will soon begin to reap the benefits of the streamlined go-to-market strategy and the more focused and pro-active approach to sales and marketing.

Azini Capital acquires Lynx Capital Ventures

Azini 1 – a fund managed by Azini Capital Partners LLP has purchased all the 84.6% limited partnership interests in Lynx Capital Ventures LP (Lynx) owned by Bear Stearns Capital Corp.

In a parallel transaction Azini has also acquired all of Lynx Capital Ventures GP Limited from Bear Stearns Asset Management Inc. After a short transition period Azini Capital Partners LLP (which is authorised and regulated by the FSA) will become the new manager of the Lynx fund, which is currently managed by Bear Stearns Asset Management Limited in London.

Lynx was established in 2000. It is a €36 m fund and now holds investments in the following five companies:

  • Investis - the market-leading specialists in providing online corporate communications services to listed companies across Europe – www.investis.com
  • OB10 - the leading global electronic invoicing network - www.ob10.com
  • iForce – the UK’s leading provider of fulfilment and returns management solutions for leading high street and internet retailers– www.iforcegroup.com
  • Shazam – the world leading provider of over the air / via the internet music recognition technology - www.shazam .com
  • Aim Technology – contact centre performance management software – www.aimtechnology.com

Azini Capital becomes Full Member of the BVCA

Azini Capital today announces that it has been accepted as a Full Member of the British Venture Capital Association (BVCA) the association of venture capital and private equity.

The BVCA is the industry body for the UK private equity and venture capital industry. With over 400 member firms, the BVCA represents the overwhelming majority of UK-based private equity and venture capital firms and their advisers. For further information: www.bvca.co.uk

Azini Capital Partners LLP specialises in acquiring significant shareholdings in public and private companies from existing shareholders/historical investors where liquidity might otherwise be difficult to achieve. We provide a solution for historical investors in quality companies who are now - typically for structural or strategic reasons - looking to achieve liquidity.

Azini Capital Acquires CLS Holdings’ Portfolio of Private Technology Investments

Property investment company CLS Holdings plc (CLS) has today entered into an agreement to sell a portfolio of UK technology investments for an undisclosed sum to Azini Capital.

In a parallel transaction a number of parties associated with CLS have entered into agreements to sell small shareholdings in the same companies to Azini Capital.

The portfolio includes the following companies:

  • AIM listed Amino Technologies plc, which provides products and technology for IPTV, Internet TV and in-home multimedia distribution,
  • Antenova Limited, a leading developer and supplier of high performance antennas and RF antenna modules for mobile handsets, portable devices and laptop computers,
  • Keronite plc, a provider of advanced surface technology for the environmentally friendly treatment of magnesium and aluminium alloys,
  • Pond Ventures II, a limited partnership interest in a fund managed by one of Europe’s leading technology venture capital providers.

This first independent Azini Capital fund, of $60 million, has been backed by Greenpark Capital and Lexington Partners – two of the world’s leading providers of capital for secondary private equity transactions. 

Commenting on the sale Per Sjøberg, Chief Executive Officer of CLS Holdings plc said “The sale of these assets to Azini Capital enables CLS to restructure its UK equity investment portfolio. We selected Azini Capital because they appreciate the value of the assets and are committed to continue to support the management teams and companies going forward”.

Speaking for Azini Capital Michael Bennett commented “We are delighted to have completed this transaction with CLS. The acquisition of these high quality investment assets, which have been nurtured by CLS, represents an important step in the development of Azini Capital”.

Azini Capital Launch Fund With Backing From Lexington Partners and Greenpark Capital

Azini Capital has announced today that it is has launched its first independent fund, initially targeting $60 million of assets, with the backing of two of the world’s leading providers of capital for secondary transactions, Greenpark Capital and Lexington Partners.

Founded by Michael Bennett and Nick Habgood, Azini Capital has also announced that it has acquired a number of shareholdings in growth stage technology companies from CLS Holdings plc (see separate release for details).

Lexington Partners and Greenpark Capital – together managing more than $15 billion of committed capital - are two of the world’s leading providers of capital for secondary acquisitions providing liquidity solutions to investors seeking to exit from long-term private equity investments before such investments have reached maturity.

Many of the UK’s venture capital backed technology companies find that they are requiring additional time, funding and management input in order to mature into valuable, saleable assets. However this may be at odds with the strategic, timing or cashflow requirements of some or all of the historical investors.

By acquiring shareholdings from these historical investors, Azini Capital offers an opportunity for them to realise the value that has been established to date whilst allowing management teams and other shareholders to play a longer game for greater potential upside. Azini Capital supports the on-going growth and development of its portfolio companies by providing access to additional development capital and by taking selective board positions.

Marleen Groen, Founder and CEO of Greenpark Capital, said: “There is a clear opportunity for a fund such as this in the UK venture capital market and we are delighted to be working with Azini Capital.”

Marshall W. Parke, Partner and Head of Lexington Partners’ London Office, said: “We have known the founders of Azini Capital for a long time and have been impressed with their insights and venture capital investing experience. Combined with their technical and operational expertise, they offer a differentiated approach in the secondary market and will contribute significantly to any company in which Azini 1 invests. We look forward to backing them now and in the future”.

Commenting on the launch of the fund, Nick Habgood, founding partner of Azini Capital, said: “Increasingly, many of the venture capital backed companies formed in the late 1990’s have recognised that they will need further time and money. The financial strength and vision of our backers Greenpark Capital and Lexington Partners allows Azini Capital to address this opportunity.”