Ardian is seeking at least $18bn for secondaries mega-fund – exclusive

The secondaries giant is expecting to raise at least $6bn in co-investments for ASF VIII, Secondaries Investor has learned.

Ardian is set to join the ranks of the largest private equity funds ever raised.

Secondaries Investor reported in May that Ardian was seeking $12 billion for its latest commingled secondaries fund. It had collected at least $9 billion by the end of January, including at least $1 billion from US investors.

It is now understood the Paris-headquartered firm is seeking a total of $18 billion for its ASF VIII programme, according to two sources familiar with the matter. This comprises $12 billion for its commingled secondaries vehicle and $6 billion for co-investments.

If ASF VIII closes on $18 billion, it would be the sixth largest private equity fund ever raised, alongside Blackstone Capital Partners VII. The largest ever is Apollo Investment Fund IX, which raised $24.7 billion by final close in 2017, according to PEI data.

ASF VIII is seeking a net multiple of 1.6x and a net internal rate of return of 16 percent, according to a broadcast of the University of Houston System’s August board of regents meeting. The fund will look for transactions of $1 billion-plus and target more complex deals.

Deals the secondaries giant backed in the second half of last year include the acquisition of a $1 billion portfolio from Maryland State Retirement and Pension System and a $2.3 billion portfolio from US insurer American International Group, which it split with PineBridge Investments.

Ardian declined to comment.

– Adam Le contributed to this story.