Ardian passes $5bn-mark for Fund VI

Michigan State and Ohio PERS are among LPs lining up for Ardian’s Secondary Fund VI, which market sources expect to raise as much as $10bn.

Ardian, the global firm formerly known as AXA Private Equity, has held an interim $5 billion close for its sixth secondaries fund, Secondaries Investor has learned. That follows on from a $3.5 billion first close in December.

Launched in October last year just after its spin-out, Fund VI is on track to raise as much as $10 billion, according to four sources familiar with matter. That would surpass its prior secondaries vehicle, which raised a record-setting $8 billion back in 2012.

The firm’s target for Fund VI’s ‘main’ vehicle was approximately $4 billion, according to PEI Research & Analytics. However it is understood that the fund will also feature related sidecar vehicles to raise $4 billion for ‘early secondaries’, $1 billion for co-investments and $1 billion for infrastructure and energy fund investments.

Michigan State, the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System and the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS) are among the investors already signed up to the fund. Former parent AXA, which still owns a 23 percent stake in Ardian’s management company, was also expected to make a commitment in line with its agreement to provide €4.8 billion to Ardian funds through 2018.

Fund VI is expected to do roughly 15-20 deals, according to TCRS documents. The firm is already understood to be looking at a couple of large secondaries transactions at around the $1 billion-mark.

It was unclear at press time whether Ardian had already begun deploying Fund VI.

Ardian and TCRS declined to comment.

The Paris-based firm invested $4.3 billion across 21 secondaries transactions last year, which it called “a clear sign of the robust nature of the secondary fund of funds market”.