UK private equity group Apax Partners has agreed to acquire unspecified majority stake in Advantage Sales & Marketing from private equity firm JW Childs Associates and Bank of America for approximately $1.8bn.

Advantage is a California-based company that provides outsourced sales, marketing and merchandising services to the consumer packaged goods sector.

Advantage Sales, whose customers include Unilever and Johnson & Johnson, has about $1bn in annual revenue.

The purchase of Advantage Sales is subject to customary approvals and is expected to close by the end of the year 2010.

Post acquisition, Advantage Sales & Marketing existing senior management team will continue to manage day-to-day operations.

Apax has become Advantage Sales’ third private-equity owner in five years. Merrill Lynch’s buyout unit and JW Childs agreed in March 2006 to acquire a majority ownership interest in the company from Washington-based Allied Capital in a transaction valued at about $1.05bn.