Ardian offloads $700m portfolio to Strategic Partners – exclusive

Stakes offloaded so far include tail-end interests in Carlyle, Lyceum Capital and Rutland Partners-managed vehicles, Secondaries Investor has learned.

Ardian has offloaded a portfolio of mainly tail-end buyout stakes held in several pre-crisis vehicles to Strategic Partners, Secondaries Investor has learned.

The Blackstone secondaries unit picked up the portfolio, which is worth at least $700 million, and includes tail-end interests in Carlyle, Lyceum Capital and Rutland Partners-managed funds, according to three sources familiar with the deal.

UK regulatory filings show some of the stakes traded include Carlyle Europe Partners II, Carlyle Europe Technology Partners, Lyceum Capital Fund II and Rutland Fund II. Strategic Partners used its latest Strategic Partners VII vehicle to acquire the interests, according to the filings.

Ardian sold from the following vehicles:

  • AXA Private Equity Fund of Funds II, a 2003-vintage $305 million secondaries fund
  • AXA Primary Fund UK III, a 2006-vintage €300 million mid-market fund
  • AXA Primary Fund Europe III, a 2006-vintage €300 million vehicle

The deals involving the above stakes closed in mid-May, the filings show.

This is at least the second time this year that Ardian has offloaded a large portfolio of tail-end stakes. In March, it offloaded a portfolio of pre-crisis private equity stakes from its 2006-vintage secondaries vehicle to Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for $1 billion.

Strategic Partners VII is a $7.5 billion fund that closed in January 2017. It is understood the fund, which began investing in May last year, is about 20 percent committed.

Assets left in Carlyle Europe Partners II, a €1.8 billion, 2003-vintage fund, include HC Starck, a Germany-headquartered provider of specialist metals, ceramics and electronic chemicals, according to Carlyle’s website. The company was sold to Carlyle and Advent International by pharmaceuticals firm Bayer Group in 2007 for €1.2 billion.

Carlyle Europe Technology Partners closed in 2005 with €222 million in commitments.

Carlyle Europe Technology Partners invested in emerging technology companies in Europe with enterprise values of between €25 million and €250 million, according to Carlyle’s website.

Lyceum Fund II closed in February 2008 on £225 million ($291 million; €259 million), above its £200 million target. The fund focuses on small and medium-sized companies in fragmented markets using “strategic innovation, technology and add-on acquisitions” to grow them, according to Lyceum’s website.

Assets remaining in Lyceum II include Carewatch, a UK-based social care provider for the elderly. Initial investors in the fund include GIMV, AP2, AlpInvest, F&C Group and the European Investment Fund, according to PEI data. It is understood that Ardian remains the largest investor in London-headquartered Lyceum’s funds.

Rutland Fund II closed in July 2007 on £322 million, according to PEI data. Assets left in the fund are tool hire firm Brandon Hire, Pizza Hut and access equipment rental firm AFI, Secondaries Investor has learned. BlackRock, the European Investment Fund and Pantheon Ventures are among its investors.

Secondaries Investor understands that Strategic Partners closes a deal on average once every five calendar days. In May the firm used Fund VII to acquire a series of tail-end venture capital stakes from BlackRock, including Abingworth Bioventures IV and Abingworth Bioventures V, Scottish Equity Partners III and Advent Private Equity Fund IV.

Strategic Partners, Carlyle, Lyceum and Rutland declined to comment. Ardian did not return requests for comment by press time.