Ardian races towards target for biggest-ever secondaries fund – exclusive

The secondaries giant is understood to have collected at least $9bn for ASF VIII, which has a $12bn target.

Ardian has passed the three-quarter mark on fundraising for its flagship secondaries fund after just eight months in market, Secondaries Investor has learned.

The Paris-headquartered investment firm has collected at least $9 billion for Ardian Secondary Fund VIII, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

The fund is already being invested, according to one of the sources.

Ardian began fundraising for the vehicle in May, as Secondaries Investor reported. The $12 billion target is the largest ever sought for secondaries and matches that of Lexington Partners‘ Lexington Capital Partners IX fund, which launched in the first half of last year.

ASF VIII’s return expectations were outlined in a broadcast of University of Houston System’s August board of regents meeting, which noted the fund will look for transactions of $1 billion-plus and target more complex deals.

It is is targeting a net multiple of 1.6x and a net internal rate of return of 16 percent, according to the broadcast.

Ardian raised $10.8 billion for secondaries in its predecessor programme, ASF VII, according to Secondaries Investor data. The fund was in market for 11 months and closed in 2016.

Ardian is one of several large secondaries firms expected to hold final closes this year, including Lexington and Coller Capital.

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.

See how Ardian’s secondaries funds have performed as of 31 March 2018 in our Performance Watch series here.