GP stakes firm Armen holds first close, sells equity interest to family offices

Three family offices will acquire a 20% stake in Armen, which was founded last year by Ardian’s Dominique Gaillard and Capza’s Laurent Bénard.

European GP stakes firm Armen has sold a stake in itself to a group of French family offices and held a first close on its debut fund, Private Equity International has learned.

The Dassault family, through its office Groupe Industriel Marcel Dassault; the Faiveley family, through its office Issarts Capital; and the Laine-Foriel-Destezet family, via its office Allegria Capital, will own approximately 20 percent of Armen, according to a statement seen by PEI. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The investment will be used to accelerate Armen’s expansion across Europe and further develop its infrastructure and expertise, which includes the continued build out of its team as well as furthering its cybersecurity, regulatory and ESG capabilities, the statement said.

The Paris-headquartered firm has also held a €150 million first close on its debut vehicle, Armen GP Stakes Fund I. The vehicle is targeting €400 million with a €500 million hard-cap, PEI reported last year.

The vehicle’s backers include leading institutions, family offices and entrepreneurs, the statement said. The fund is being marketed to European investors and is not available to those in the US.

Fund I will make investments in European asset management firms managing up to €10 billion. Armen has a strong focus on sustainability and ESG and will invest in firms that align with Armen’s sustainability targets across diversity and inclusion, shared economic value and climate mitigation.

Armen was founded last year with president Dominique Gaillard, who spent over two decades at Ardian; CEO Laurent Bénard, who spent 17 years at Capza; and Renaud Tourmente, who most recently was head of business development and COO of Capza, at the helm.

“In welcoming these three families – all experienced investors in private capital – we will further scale up our plans to strengthen our team and develop our infrastructure,” Bénard said in a statement. “Their support also validates our strategy of becoming a trusted growth partner for Europe’s most ambitious mid-market GPs, and brings further entrepreneurial experience to our company, completely in line with our culture and mindset.”

Jérôme Demimuid, director of investments at Issarts Capital, said it was attracted to Armen’s strategy and the market’s growth prospects, as well as the quality of the people leading the firm. “We are aligned in our common vision and conviction that the private equity sector must evolve towards a more responsible and sustainable model and look forward to being part of this journey,” he added.

Last week, it emerged that Armen is set to open a London office. Armen’s Thierry Baudon, founder and former managing partner of Mid Europa Partners, will be joined in the London office by Catherine Haumesser, who moved to the firm last year from Larchpoint, a single-family office, where she was a partner overseeing its management and investment strategy, as well as its European investment activity, PEI reported.