Ardian tops $50bn AUM after hectic year

In the 12 months since its spin-out from AXA, Ardian’s AUM has grown by $14bn

Paris-based private equity group Ardian, led by Dominique Senequier said it had passed $50 billion of assets under management, a year after spinning out from former parent AXA Group.

In 2013 France-headquartered AXA sold Ardian to external managers, with Ardian’s own management and employees taking on 46 percent, external investors picking up 31 percent and AXA keeping the remaining 23 percent.

Since then, Ardian’s AUM has grown by $14 billion, an increase of 38 percent. The firm said that during this period it had completed 21 acquisitions, 20 exits, and three debt financings, as well as raising three funds. It has also invested more than $8 billion in secondaries buying portfolios from sovereign wealth funds and other financial institutions, Ardian added.

In April, Ardian closed its Secondary Fund VI on $9 billion. The firm said the fund had a re-up rate of almost 100 percent, with around 40 percent of investors coming from North America, 21 percent from the Middle East and Asia, and 39 percent from Europe. It is understood that this fund is already 50 percent deployed. In addition, the fund of funds group also raised $1 billion for primary commitments.

Ardian also closed the €450 million Expansion Fund III, which focuses on growth capital and buyout transactions through majority or minority investments in companies with an enterprise value of up to €500 million in France, Italy and Germany. It also raised an €50 million co-investment vehicle, plus an additional €70 million for its latest Ardian Croissance fund, which focuses on investments of €2 million to €10 million in the internet and technology sectors.

The firm’s recent investments include its acquisition of cosmetics company ADA Cosmetics in July from The Carlyle Group’s European technology investment arm, in a deal that valued the company at around €100 million, and its acquisition, alongside Spanish airports authority AENA, of the London Luton Airport concession for an enterprise value of £433 million.

Exits include its sale of French food business Diana Group to global trade buyer Symrise in April in a deal valuing the company at €1.3 billion. Its three debt financings include a £40 million unitranche financing facility for Lyceum Capital’s portfolio company Eat, a leading player in the UK food-to-go market.