Ardian to buy Norinchukin mega-portfolio

The portfolio worth up to $5bn consists of 35 positions and is 75% unfunded, Secondaries Investor revealed in March.

Ardian has emerged as the buyer of a huge portfolio of LP stakes in a throwback to the era of regulation-driven deals.

The Paris-headquartered investment manager has won a competitive process to acquire around $5 billion of limited partnership interests from Japan’s Norinchukin Bank, according to a source familiar the matter. Given its size, Ardian is likely to split the deal with co-investors.

Sister publication Buyouts first reported Ardian was set to buy the portfolio.

Co-operative bank Norinchukin came to market in March. The portfolio comprised around 35 fund stakes, 75 percent of which was unfunded, two sources told Secondaries Investor at the time. The portfolio was viewed by a select group of large secondaries investors, including one large Europe-headquartered pension manager, Secondaries Investor understands.

The portfolio was sold to comply with Japanese regulations that affect banks with overseas operations, Secondaries Investor understands. It is not clear if more sell-offs are likely to follow.

The process was run by Greenhill, Secondaries Investor understands.

The deal comes three months after Norinchukin’s sale of around $1.3 billion worth of stakes to buyers including Lexington Partners, as Secondaries Investor reported.

Financial institutions accounted for around 26 percent of sellers last year, according to UBS’s 2019 Secondary Market Survey and Outlook. Deal volume for private equity was around $67 billion, according to UBS. Asian sellers comprised 10 percent of last year’s deal volume.

Ardian declined to comment. Norinchukin and Greenhill did not return requests for comment by press time.