AXA continues secondaries spree with $500m Mizuho deal

The Japanese conglomerate is selling a portfolio of buyout stakes to AXA Private Equity.

The private equity arm of French insurance giant AXA continues to be one of the most active secondaries buyers on the market, having most recently agreed to purchase $500 million-worth of buyout funds stakes from Japan’s Mizuho Financial Group.

Mizuho has been investing in private equity since 1987; one of its most recent commitments was to Tata Capital’s growth fund.

The deal will have AXA Private Equity take over the ownership of around 20 fund stakes in funds from managers including The Blackstone Group, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, BC Partners and EQT Partners, an industry source confirmed. It’s unclear what the motivation was behind the sale, whose terms have not been disclosed.

The deal was first reported by Bloomberg, which noted that London-based 3i would manage the holdings for AXA Private Equity.

Both AXA Private Equity and Mizuho declined to comment, while 3i could not be reached at press time.

The deal is the fourth secondary deal for AXA Private Equity in recent months. Led by Dominique Senequier, the firm in August teamed up with LGT Capital Partners to buy a €620 million portfolio of private equity holdings from German bank HSH Nordbank. The transaction followed the purchases of a $1.7 billion portfolio of assets from Citigroup and a $740 million portfolio from Barclays.

AXA itself could become the target of a secondary transaction; the French insurer is exploring a sale of its private equity unit. According to sources in the secondaries market familiar with the firm, the most likely buyer would be a large private equity firm that would allow the management team to retain control.