French private equity firm Ardian raises €1.1bn for co-investment fund

Madeline Ratcliffe
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The fund allows Ardian to invest a minority stake in bigger private equity deals (Source: Getty)

French private equity firm Ardian has completed a €1.1bn (£769m) fundraising for its fourth co-investment fund.

The fund's strategy is to co-invest a minority stake in larger private equity transactions, with two pools, so investors can choose their exposure to the US and European markets.

Ardian, which until 2013 was AXA Private Equity and is now largely employee owned, has some $50bn of assets, and its portfolio includes London Luton airport. It also specialises in debt financing, most recently for the EAT restaurant chain.

Ardian said the fund – Ardian Co-Investment IV – was already one-third invested through 11 deals, which began before the fund closed.

The 2015 investments were largely US-based, including PetSmart, ICCNexergy, the largest independent manufacturer of rechargeable power systems in the US and CMG, a primary care provider in Florida.

This latest financing is a significant step-up, the last fund in 2007 raised €730m, reflecting the increasing spending power of private equity companies.

More than half of the investors in the fund are new to Ardian, and some 30 family offices, private wealth management firms for ultra-high net worth individuals, are involved.

Alexandre Motte, Ardian's head of co-investment, said:

The high number of family offices investing in this fund confirms the growing demand for co-investment. Our investors value the direct exposure to private companies all over the world in various sectors alongside high-quality majority shareholders. As in our previous generations, we will continue our strategy of leveraging Ardian’s network, as well as its strong presence in the US.