Ardian closes €1bn small-cap fund

Ardian Expansion Fund IV is twice the size of its predecessor and will look for larger investment opportunities.

Paris-headquartered Ardian has closed its latest small-cap fund on €1 billion just two years after its predecessor, according to a statement from the firm.

Expansion Fund IV is twice the size of Fund III, which closed on €500 million in 2014.

Commitments to the fund came mostly from European and Canadian investors, the firm said. Insurance companies and pension funds made up the majority of commitments, but the proportion of high net worth individuals doubled compared to the previous fund, the firm said.

Several former CEOs of Ardian portfolio companies have also committed to the fund, Ardian said.

The fund will be invested by Ardian’s 19-strong Expansion team, which will continue with the previous funds’ strategy of seeking opportunities in France, Germany, Italy, Belgium and Austria.

Following the opening of Ardian’s Madrid office last year, the team will also start to look for opportunities in Spain.

As well as doubling the size of the fund, Ardian has doubled its investment bite size per deal: it is now able to write equity cheques of up to €100 million per company. It has also increased the enterprise value of the companies it considers from €150 million for Fund III to €225 million.

The team will continue to focus on growth capital and buyout transactions through majority and minority investments.

“This major fundraising proves the success of our multi-local strategy, which is to identify ambitious companies and help them expand even further beyond their domestic market and accelerate international growth,” Dominique Gaillard, member of the executive committee and head of direct funds at Ardian, said in the statement.

“Coming only two years after the close of Fund III and double in size, Fund IV is a huge fundraising achievement and is testament to both the trust Ardian has in the market place and the increasing confidence of investors in European businesses supported by our team.”