Paris private equity firm Ardian has raised a $10 billion fund of funds.
The money is comprised of $9 billion from Ardian's sixth generation secondary platform, ASF VI, which it says is the largest secondaries fund ever raised globally, and another $1 billion in primary commitments. ASF VI will invest in large secondaries transactions, buying interests in private equity funds or portfolios of interests in various funds from existing investors, allowing it to obtain limited partnership interests in those funds.
Investors included pension funds, government agencies and family offices from North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The announcement comes about two years after Ardian raised $8 billion for its fifth generation fund of funds.
"We see a positive outlook for secondary deal flow in 2014 in the US, Europe and Asia, negating any suggestion that the market is losing its prominence within the wider spectrum of private equity. A vibrant secondaries market is hugely important for the investment industry, as it offers much needed liquidity," says Benoit Verbrugghe, managing partner and head of Ardian USA.
Ardian, previously known as Axa Private Equity, was founded in 1996 by Dominique Senequier (pictured), who currently serves as vice president of the supervisory board of luxury brand Hermes International. In 2011, the firm picked up a $1.7 billion portfolio of limited partner interests in the private equity buyout funds and a portfolio of stakes in companies from Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C). In April, the firm closed a $690 million private equity fund and has been on a buying spree.
Recent deals include Ardian-backed Trescal's purchase of Instrument Calibration Services and Test Equipment Repair Corp.in April. In February, the firm bought a 49 percent stake in Microross, which provides products and services for data storage cards. In November, the firm reinvested in pharmaceutical manufacturer Synerlab.