AXA buys BdW portfolio

AXA Private Equity’s secondary unit has paid an undisclosed sum to acquire BdW, the German private equity firm owned by Allianz, which has a portfolio of 45 direct investments.

AXA Private Equity, the private equity business of French insurance group AXA, has stepped up its acquisition of European secondary portfolio interests with the purchase of the Beteiligungsgesellschaft für die deutsche Wirtschaft (BdW).

BdW, a German provider of expansion financing, capital for leveraged buyouts and venture capital, is being acquired from its former shareholders Dresdner Bank Group, AMB Generali, Protektor and Merck Finck & Co. BdW KG has a portfolio of over 45 participations in German companies with a balance sheet of approximately €200 million ($256 million).


The sale has been on the cards since Dresdner Bank, the biggest shareholder in BdW with a 45 percent stake in the business, decided to scale back its private equity activities to focus on its core banking activities. The decision was taken after Dresdner was acquired by Allianz Group, the insurance and asset management group.


News of the BdW sale comes in the week that Allianz announced the closure of its early stage investment arm, Allianz Venture Partners (AVP). The business, established in February 2002, was looking to target new business ideas in the financial services sector as well as on technologies relevant to financial service providers. Allianz said it would provide €300 million for the unit, which was to be invested over five years.


Ultimately, the unit made only a handful of investments, partly the result of a downturn in the market and the shift in focus for Allianz Group. “AVP has not done very much in the last couple of years and didn’t actually see much,” said a source close to the firm. “It is no longer a strategic fit for [Allianz Capital Partners], although Allianz remains very committed to the asset class.”


Investments made by AVC will be managed by Allianz Private Equity Holding, which is responsible for all of Allianz Group’s private equity activity.


AXA invested in BdW from its dedicated secondary fund, AXA Secondary Fund II, which has $480 million (€375 million) available for investment. AXA's secondary funds are partnered with Paul Capital Partners (PCP), an American team also specialised in the secondary investment market.