Ardian made headlines earlier this year when it emerged the firm was back on the fundraising trail targeting $9 billion for its Ardian Secondary Fund VII, only a year after closing its prior secondaries fund on a similar amount.
While the firm is unsurprisingly tight-lipped about fundraising, several recent UK regulatory filings have shed light on which investors are Ardian’s largest supporters – and also serve as a reminder that Ardian’s history continues to shape its investor base to a large extent.
Here are three key takeaways from the filings:
‘Family ties’ remain strong
Ardian was established when AXA Private Equity span out of insurer AXA Group in September 2013 and continues to receive significant support from its former parent, which is both a significant shareholder in Ardian’s management company (owning roughly 46 percent) as well as an anchor investor in its funds. For this fundraise, AXA and its affiliates from around the world committed at least $500 million to Fund VII, according to estimates from filings
North American pensions re-up
The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) are among Fund VII’s largest public pension investors, having each committed $300 million. Meanwhile, Florida’s State Board of Administration has committed $150 million and the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System has approved a $75 million commitment. All of these groups committed the same amounts to the firm’s sixth secondaries fund, suggesting Ardian remains one of the groups still topping LP wishlists at a time when many investors are rationalising non-core relationships and, in CDPQ’s case, increasingly going direct.
Once again, Ardian is raising a side vehicle in conjunction with its main fund to meet demand for co-investments. Last year, alongside its $9 billion Fund VI, it raised $1 billion for co-investments. This time around, it’s expected to close on a similar amount, thanks to commitments including $150 million from Ohio PERS, $200 million from CDPQ, $400 million from a GIC-controlled vehicle and undisclosed amounts from groups including Canada’s PSP Investments.
This continued support from AXA and large institutional investors is pointing to a massive vote of confidence, not only for Ardian and its ability to put the dollars to work, but also more broadly for the secondaries market as investors expect activity to continue to be strong.
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