CPPIB to pick up Ardian’s $1bn portfolio

The Canadian pension giant has emerged as the buyer of stakes held in the investment firm’s 2006-vintage secondaries fund.

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board has emerged as the buyer of a portfolio of pre-crisis private equity fund stakes held in Ardian’s 2006-vintage secondaries vehicle, Private Equity International’s sister title Secondaries Investor has learned.

The Canadian pension giant is set to buy the stakes held in AXA Secondary Fund IV that are worth more than $1 billion, according to three sources familiar with the deal. Two of the sources said the deal has not been signed.

Paris-headquartered Ardian brought the portfolio of interests to market in a process run by Evercore, as Secondaries Investor reported in February.

AXA Secondary Fund IV closed on $2.9 billion and attracted limited partners including Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Saudi Aramco Retirement Plan and Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System, according to PEI data.

Ardian’s sale to CPPIB, when closed, would be one of the largest sales from a traditional secondaries buyer.

In a February interview with PEI, CPPIB’s head of secondaries and co-investments, Michael Woolhouse, said the pension’s secondaries team has expanded its coverage of private market funds to allow it to move faster and have a competitive advantage when a portfolio comes to market.

“We’re covering more funds and we’re getting better quality information,” Woolhouse said. “We can know more about what we’re buying when portfolios come to market. We can react, and that’s a necessary thing if we’re competing against the best of the best.”

The pension, which has C$298 billion ($224 billion; €207 billion) in assets, invested C$2.5 billion in secondaries last year and favours purchasing LP fund stakes to GP-led fund restructurings, Woolhouse said.

Ardian, CPPIB and Evercore declined to comment.