AXA Private Equity spin-out emerges as Ardian

Paris-based AXA Private Equity has completed its spinout from its insurer parent and will become Ardian, an independent firm led by AXA Private Equity founder Dominique Senequier.

AXA Private Equity has completed its spin-out from insurer the AXA Group to become Ardian, a private investment company.

AXA Private Equity's executive management, including founder Dominique Senequier, managing directors Vincent Gombault and Dominique Gaillard and head of AXA Private Equity USA Benoît Verbrugghe, and the company's employees are the largest shareholders of Ardian, owning a 46 percent stake. The group will remain in full operational control of the company. 

“We promised to develop a structure that keeps our talented team together and reinforces our investment approach, which is particular to AXA Private Equity,” Senequier said in a statement in March. 

About 81 percent, or 260 of AXA Private Equity's team members will stay on under the new name, an Ardian spokesperson told Private Equity International.

European institutions and French family offices collectively own 31 percent of Ardian. AXA Group will remain a financial sponsor in the company, holding a 23 percent stake. The firm will commit €4.8 billion in new funds managed by Ardian over the next five years. 

The spin-out valued Ardian at €510 million at the time of its announcement in March. The AXA Group will book €488 million in proceeds from the sale, including an up-front payment of about €348 million and deferred consideration of up to €140 million, PEI reported earlier. Initial conversations about the private equity group's shareholding began in September 2011, the spokesperson said.

Last month, AXA Private Equity completed its maiden airport deal by acquiring UK’s Luton Airport from Spanish conglomerate Albertis. 

On the fundraising side, AXA LBO Fund V is targeting $2 billion, according to PEI’s Research and Analytics Division. The group is also in market with its Capital Asia III fund, which is targeting $600 million.

Ardian now has $36 billion of assets under management. The name is derived from the word “hardjan” which signifies a code of behavior in an old European language.