Nearly completing its withdrawal from the alternative investment field in order to focus on manufacturing, General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) has agreed to sell its private equity investment group to French alternative asset manager Ardian for about $500 million, according to Bloomberg, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

Ardian won the assets earlier in September in an auction process run by Evercore Partners Inc., said two of the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The team in charge of GE Capital Equity, led by Patrick Kocsi, is expected to continue to manage the assets and may receive additional capital to complete future deals by Ardian, sources said. Those details have not been finalized and management may still change.

Led by Dominique Senequier, Paris-based Ardian has acquired GE assets before. In 2014, soon after raising a $10 billion fund of funds, Ardian purchased a $1.3 billion portfolio of limited partnership interests in private equity funds from GE Capital. The fund consisted primarily of limited partnership interests in U.S. buyout funds.

Earlier in September, Ardian announced it has raised its third debt fund, a $2.25 billion fund focused on backing middle-market companies in Europe. Recent investments include partnering with EDF Invest to purchase a majority stake in French oil storage company Geosel from Total; and portfolio company ADA Cosmetics International’s buying British skin care company Pacific Direct.

Senequier founded Axa Private Equity in 1996. The firm was renamed Ardian in 2013. Senequier also serves on supervisory board of luxury brand Hermes International.

In April, GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt said the company would shed its alternative investment assets to focus on manufacturing and to remove the regulatory burdens of its Systemically Important Financial Institution status. Also in April, Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE agreed most of its real estate portfolio to Blackstone Group LP (NYSE: BX) and Wells Fargo & Co.  In June, after a highly competitive process, GE agreed to sell its U.S. Sponsor Finance group, including the highly sought Antares Capital, to Canada Pension Plan Investment Boardfor $11 billion, in a deal that closed in August. The deal with Ardian largely completes GE’s withdrawal from the alternative investment field. 

Ardian, Evercore and GE declined to comment.


- With additional reporting by Kiel Porter and Richard Clough, Bloomberg News

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