Side Letter: Quickfire Texas, Ardian’s rise, Paris in the spring

Texas is getting its work done early, while Paris is looking more like the PE centre of Europe. Here’s today's brief, for our valued subscribers only.

Just happened

Quick draw

It’s the end of February and Texas Municipal Retirement System has already accounted for almost half the private equity capital it had earmarked for 2019. The programme – which only got started in 2015 – has been steadily increasing its first-quarter commitments, from 27 percent of its total in 2017 to 42 percent last year to 47 percent this year. This is partly down to re-ups, says TMRS’s director for private equity Christopher Schelling (pictured): “They have been coming quicker and quicker.”

‘Ard to ignore

Ardian will soon cement its place in the pantheon of the fundraising gods. The Paris-headquartered firm expects to raise at least $18 billion for ASF VIII, including $6 billion of co-investment capital, according to Secondaries Investor, making it the sixth largest PE fund ever raised, alongside Blackstone Capital Partners VII

Ardian is not alone in driving secondaries fundraising. Lexington Partners is also targeting $12 billion for its latest secondaries fund, a total it has already surpassed, according to sources close to the matter. In fact, a glance at PEI data reveals that of the 100 highest-targeting PE funds in market, more than 10 percent are secondaries funds.

Speaking of Ardian…

The firm has just acquired a non-controlling stake in rapidly growing private equity firm SwanCap from UniCredit. Worth noting this is a financial investment rather than an Ardian-expanding consolidation play. The investment has been made from AESF VI, Ardian’s sixth “early secondaries” vehicle.

Speaking of Paris…

The French capital may soon have a new resident in the form of advisory firm Campbell Lutyens, which is prepping a new office in light of Brexit. “Whether it’s a hard or soft Brexit impacts the timing [of the opening]. Under most realistic scenarios, one would need to be regulated in continental Europe to continue to do our type of business,” chief exec Andrew Sealey tells PEI. More will surely follow suit over the next six weeks.


How do you measure up? We’ve started work on the PEI 300, our annual ranking of the biggest firms in the business by five-year fundraising total, and we want your help to ensure our data is as accurate as possible – find details of how and what to submit here.

LP meetings: It’s Monday, so here are some LP meetings to watch out for this week.

He said it

“Truly good businesses are exceptionally hard to find. Selling any you are lucky enough to own makes no sense at all.”

Warren Buffett explains why shareholders need not worry about the tax implications of selling any of Berkshire Hathaway’s wholly owned businesses.


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