Astorg makes key hires as it builds up team for its continuation fund strategy

The firm has hired executives from Arch Capital and StepStone, and moved two people across internally to bulk up its secondaries offering.

Paris-headquartered buyout manager Astorg has made some key hires as it ramps up its efforts to target continuation fund transactions.

The firm has hired Sebastiaan Van Den Berg from insurer Arch Capital Group, according to two sources familiar with the matter. Van Den Berg was the firm’s CIO for alternatives before he left in November, according to his Linkedin. He will co-head Astorg’s secondaries strategy, according to one of the sources.

Prior to joining Arch Capital, Van Den Berg was CIO and head of principal investments at Hong Kong-headquartered alternative investor Sun Hung Kai & Co and previously spent 11 years with HarbourVest Partners where he was mostly recently a managing director, his LinkedIn shows.

Astorg partner Michal Lange will also co-head the firm’s continuation fund strategy, Secondaries Investor understands. Lange, who joined Astorg in 2016, was promoted to partner this year and has worked on a number of transactions including price reporting agency Fastmarkets, life sciences tool company LGC and fund services business IQ-EQ, according to a statement at the time. Prior to joining Astorg, Lange was with Doughty Hanson.

Ben Deanfield, a managing director at Astorg, will move across to the secondaries team, according to one of the sources. Deanfield joined the investment team in 2019 from Partners Group’s private equity direct investments team where he spent five years, according to the firm’s website.

Astorg has also hired Chuck Sandilya as a director on the secondaries team, three sources  familiar with the matter said. Sandilya joined as a director last month, according to his LinkedIn. He joined the firm from StepStone Group where he spent seven years and was most recently a vice-president.

It is understood the continuation fund strategy will invest in continuation funds of other GPs in Astorg’s area of expertise. Secondaries Investor reported last year Astorg was seeking to raise a fund dedicated to single-asset secondaries deals.

The move is a response to GP-led processes eating into the secondary buyout market, where Astorg sources many of its deals, Secondaries Investor reported at the time.

Astorg declined to comment.

Astorg invests in B2B companies headquartered in Europe or the US. It is in market with its latest flagship, Astorg VIII, targeting €6.5 billion, according to PEI data. The fund, which launched in 2021, is in its investment phase, according to PEI data and Astorg’s website. It would be a significant step up in size from its predecessor, which closed on €4.24 billion in 2019 ahead of its €3.2 billion target.

The firm closed its latest mid-cap strategy, Astorg Mid-Cap, last year on €1.3 billion, beating its €1.25 billion target, PEI data shows.

Last year, Astorg moved IQ-EQ out of its 2011-vintage flagship fund into a continuation vehicle led by AlpInvest Partners and Goldman Sachs Asset Management. The vehicle is €1.3 billion and includes follow on capital for the business.