Ardian, the Paris private equity firm founded by Dominique Senequier, has teamed with Seven Mile Capital Partners to establish a direct investment business  that will focus on the North American industrial and business service sectors. The partnership will further expand Ardian’s presence in North America.

“Ardian has long dominated the secondaries space in North America, and its expansion into direct middle market activities is a natural extension of its capabilities, especially given that many of our relationships are based in the North American market,” says Benoît Verbrugghe, head of Ardian USA.

The direct investment business will allow Ardian’s European mid-cap buyout team “to benefit from significant synergies in terms of the development” of Ardian’s portfolio companies. The newly formed unit will focus on companies that have between $10 million and $50 million in Ebitda.

SMCP’s strategy “corresponds to Ardian’s overall direct investment philosophy, which emphasizes control-oriented investments in stable businesses that maintain leading positions in their industries,” says Verbrugghe.

SMCP  is a New York-based middle market private equity firm founded in 2012. The PE firm makes majority investments in industrial and business service-related companies with $5 million and $50 million in Ebitda. As part of the partnership, SMCP  managing partners Vincent Fandozzi and Kevin Kruse will spearhead Ardian’s direct investment business efforts.

Senequier founded the private equity group of French insurer Axa in 1996 and spun it off in 2013, renaming it Ardian. Today, the firm boasts $60 billion in assets under management. Ardian has 160 companies in its current portfolio to date, including: Air Medical Group Holdings, Esim Chemicals, HR Path, IMV Technologies, and PetSmart Inc..

Earlier in 2016, Ardian raised its fourth infrastructure Fund IV with €2.65 billion ($2.88 billion) to back European infrastructure companies. In 2015, Ardian raised its fourth co-investment fund with $1.17 billion as well as a $2.25 billion European debt fund. In 2014, the firm purchased a $1.3 billion limited partnership portfolio from GE, which consists of limited partner interests in U.S. buyout funds.

Senequier also serves on the supervisory board of luxury brand Hermes International.

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