Ares in talks to acquire ex-Coller Capital execs’ secondaries shop

The firm is planning to acquire Spring Bridge Partners, having bought Landmark Partners in June.

Ares Management, the 19th-largest private equity firm according to the PEI 300, is eyeing its second acquisition of a secondaries firm this year after its $1.08 billion purchase of Landmark Partners in June.

The Los Angeles-headquartered firm, best known for its credit business, is in talks with Spring Bridge Partners about acquiring the firm, according to four sources familiar with the matter.

It is unclear what stage the discussions are at, though they are understood to be advanced.

Spring Bridge was founded in 2017 by two secondaries market veterans and former Coller Capital investment professionals: Sebastien Burdel and Luca Salvato. It focuses on GP-led transactions, spin-outs, structured deals involving loans, preferred debt or preferred equity and liquidity to GPs, according to its website.

The firm has made several deal-by-deal investments with an eye to raising a fund. Its deals include the 2019 backing of the spin-out of Wafra Partners, the direct investment team of Wafra Investment Group, to become Granite Bridge Partners, and in May this year it led a fund restructuring of legacy assets owned by Los Angeles-based private equity firm Brentwood Associates, according to a statement.

Burdel and Salvato would join and report to Ares’ Landmark team as part of the acquisition, according to a separate source familiar with the matter.

Spring Bridge had been seeking $500 million for its debut fund as of 2019, Secondaries Investor reported at the time. It is unclear how this fundraising has progressed.

The market for buying secondaries firms has been red hot this year, with at least five other acquisitions so far, including CVC Capital Partners’ purchase of Glendower Capital and PGIM’s acquisition of Montana Capital Partners.

Landmark is seeking at least $6 billion for its latest private equity secondaries fund,  Landmark Equity Partners XVII, which launched in July last year, according to Secondaries Investor data.

An Ares spokesman declined to comment. Spring Bridge was not available for comment.

– Chris Witkowsky contributed to this report

– This story was updated to reflect the correct acquisition price of Landmark Partners for $1.08 billion