Ardian sees bullish outlook for $9bn Fund VI

The French secondaries firm has outlined a five-year deployment schedule for the largest secondaries fund ever raised.

Ardian could deploy its $9 billion Secondary Fund VI over five years, around $1.5 billion a year, according to Ardian managing partner Benoit Verbrugghe.

Fund IV is 20 percent invested across three transactions, Verbrugghe told Secondaries Investor. This includes last month’s $1.3 billion acquisition of GE Capital’s fund interests, meaning the firm has already made strong headway into deploying Fund VI.

“[We] could have five years of investment buyouts for Fund VI, that’s roughly $1.5 billion a year,” said Verbrugghe. “We are staying selective with the fund, because dealflow is very important; we have the ability to select, to pick and choose the assets that we like.”

Ardian started marketing the vehicle last October just after it completed its spin-out from parent insurer AXA Group. It held an interim $5 billion close in March, having marked a $3.5 billion first close last December.

It is unclear how much capital came from Ardian’s existing investors. Ardian said it attracted major institutional investors including pension funds, government agencies and family offices.

“The secondaries market is very active; as a GP on the buy side you can find large transactions between $500m and $2-$3 billion,” said Verbrugghe.“So it means that if you have a large fund and you are able to underwrite those kinds of deals, it gives you a competitive advantage.”

Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS) committed $75 million to Fund VI, according to minutes from an investment committee meeting last November. Michigan State and the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System also backed the fund.

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 to 2018, as previously reported.