Natixis snaps up AtriA despite earlier spin-outs

Investment bank Natixis will acquire French buyout firm AtriA, less than six months after it sold some of its in-house private equity units.

Natixis is set to acquire troubled French private equity group AtriA Capital Partenaires in a deal which will see one of its few remaining in-house buyout units, Naxicap, work alongside the AtriA team.

No financial terms for the deal were disclosed.

AtriA invests in French companies with enterprise values of €30 million to €150 million, and raised its most recent fund, the €300 million Atria Private Equity Fund III, in 2006, according to research group Private Equity Connect. Investors in the fund included US the California State Teachers' Retirement System and fund of funds group Pantheon.

The deal draws a line under a difficult year for AtriA, during which two partners left the firm citing strategic differences. Thibaut de Chassey and Edouard Thomazeau, both managing partners, left in April after disagreements about the group’s future strategy with founder Dominique Oger.

Over and above the strategic project which now unites us, we share a common investment philosophy

Dominique Oger & Eric Aveillan

For Natixis, the deal comes despite moves earlier this year to offload parts of its disparate private equity operations. It sold iXEN Partners, NI Partners and Initiative & Finance Gestion to French group AXA Private Equity in the spring in a deal understood to be worth €543 million.

According to its website, it retains exposure to the asset class through Seventure Partners and Masseran (Venture capital); Naxicap and Alliance Entreprendre (growth capital); and Eagle Asia Partners and Masseran (funds of funds).

AtriA’s investors and its ‘Entrepreneur’s Club’ – a group of 50 entrepreneurs who represent 10 percent of its capital under management – have already approved the deal with Natixis.

AtriA said the deal would ensure continuity, as its name would be retained and its five-strong investment team would continue to manage the firm’s funds, with support from Naxicap’s team.

Oger remains as executive chairman and will lead an executive committee that also includes Naxicap chairman Eric Aveillan and board member Paul Moutinho.

In a statement, Oger and Aveillan said: “Over and above the strategic project which now unites us, we share a common investment philosophy. We both started in growth capital and invest in fast-growing companies, alongside entrepreneurs implementing ambitious development projects.”