Mid Europa founder Baudon joins Armen; firm seeks €400m in debut raise

The GP stakes firm aims to invest in 10 to 12 GPs with a focus on Europe.

Founder and former managing partner of Mid Europa Partners Thierry Baudon has joined two private equity heavyweights in their new GP-stakes venture, Armen, Private Equity International has learned.

Baudon, who was also chair of Invest Europe from 2019 through to 2021, joins Dominique Gaillard, who spent over two decades at Ardian, and Laurent Benard, who spent 17 years at Capza. Gaillard was also chair of France Invest from 2018-2021. London-based Baudon becomes Armen’s senior managing director and will sit on the investment committee alongside Paris-based Gaillard and Benard.

Armen is eyeing a debut fundraise targeting €400 million with its hard-cap set at €500 million, Gaillard told PEI. Its targeted LP base will be a mix of family offices and high-net worth individuals as well as institutional investors, particularly insurers attracted by the 5 percent to 8 percent yield Armen hopes to deliver, he added.

Armen will buy minority positions in managers looking to fund the expansion of their platforms and meet resource requirements or manage succession. It will focus on backing managers operating across venture, growth, buyout, private debt, infrastructure and real assets, Gaillard said.

The fund will aim to invest in 10 to 12 GPs across four years – 80 percent of which it expects to be GPs managing between €1 billion and €10 billion in AUM, and 20 percent being emerging and smaller GPs who have already raised and invested their first fund, he added.

Armen has a Europe focus – the firm has made two further hires who will help support Armen’s pan-European ambitions in the managers it backs.

The firm seeks to tap into the growing interest in GP-stake sales in Europe with a local approach, with many big-name specialists like Blue Owl Capital and Blackstone Alternative Asset Management based in the US. In its mission statement on its website, Armen states that the growing strategy was widely developed in the US since 2010 and is “rapidly emerging in Europe”.

Large European names that have sold GP-stakes include CVC Capital Partners, BC Partners, and Bridgepoint, the owner of PEI media.