Ardian (company)

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Type Privately held company
Industry Private equity
Predecessors AXA Private Equity
Founded Paris, France (1996 (1996)) -->
Founders Dominique Senequier
Headquarters Paris, France
Number of locations Beijing, Frankfurt, Jersey, London, Luxembourg, Milan, New York, Paris, Singapore, Zurich
Area served Europe, North America, Asia
Key people Dominique Senequier, Vincent Gombault, Dominique Gaillard, Benoît Verbrugghe
Products Funds of funds, direct funds, private debt and infrastructure
Total assets US$50bn
Employees 340

Ardian, formerly AXA Private Equity, is an independent private equity investment company.[1] It has assets of US$50 billion managed or advised in Europe, North America and Asia.[2]

The company operates on four business segments: Funds of Funds, Direct Funds, Infrastructure and Private Debt. Ardian rises money from about 346 investors from various domains (institutional investors, Funds of Funds, government agencies, sovereign funds, family offices, pension funds or insurance companies).[3]

Its portfolio includes for example Vinci Park, London Luton Airport or SPIE.


Ardian was originally called AXA Private Equity and took this name when it became independent from AXA in 2013.

In 1996, Claude Bébéar, founder and former AXA CEO, asked Dominique Senequier to create a private equity entity at AXA. AXA Private Equity started its activity with 10 clients and 100 million euros of assets and was based in Paris.[4] The first investment (in the company GSI Banque known as Linedata) took place in 1998.

In 1999, the company went international, with offices in London and New York. The same year, it launched the Funds of Funds activity.[5]

In 2001, the company opened an office in Frankfurt[6] and grew on the German market.

In 2005, the Asian market was developed with the launch of an office in Singapore.[7] The same year, AXA Private Equity launches the Infrastructure activity.

With the financial crisis in 2007, the company postponed all new operations and focused on the management of its portfolio, in order to protect its companies from the effects of the crisis.

In 2008, Dominique Senequier insisted on sharing the value created through the investments with the employees of the companies in Ardian's portfolio. It has become common practice at Ardian since.[8][9]

In 2009, as the infrastructure market was favourable to investments, Ardian acquired 100% of Kallista, a French company specialized in the production of renewable energies. Ardian then invested heavily in transports, energy, water supply and waste management. €2.5 billion were invested in this field between 2005 and 2014.[10][11]

In 2010, the private equity secondary market activity is significantly increasing. Ardian acquired the private equity portfolios of Bank of America ($1.9 billion)[12] and Natixis ($900 million).[13]

The company launched a second office in Asia in 2012, in Beijing, in order to invest on the Chinese market.[14]

On 30 September 2013, AXA Private Equity announced that it had completed its spin-out from the AXA Group and become Ardian. The company is now mainly owned by its management and employees (85% of employees are shareholders).[15]

In 2013 Private Equity International ranked Ardian in the Largest private equity firm by PE capital raised[16] and named it Company of the Year 2013 in France.[17]


The company operates on four business segments:[18]

Funds of funds, which manages approximately $30 billion of assets[19] focusing on primaries, early secondaries and secondaries Funds of Funds

Direct funds, which manages approximately $11 billion

Infrastructure, which manages approximately $5 billion

Private debt, which manages approximately $4 billion

Funds of funds[edit]

The fund of funds business segment at Ardian was launched in 1998 and has now $30 billion of assets.[19]

Funds of Funds include primaries, early secondaries and secondaries. Ardian has completed an important range of transactions in these fields, including the purchase of fund portfolios from Bank of America[20] and GE Capital.[21]

Between 2012 and 2014, Ardian deployed $7 billion into Fund of Funds transactions.[22]

Direct funds[edit]

The direct funds segment at Ardian manages approximately $11 billion of assets.[18] It is organized into four activities:

• Mid Cap Buyout (which invests in companies with a value ranging from €150 million to €1.5 billion)

• Expansion (which invests in companies valued at less than €150 million)

• Co-Investment (an activity than began in 2005, when large buyout transactions require a strategic partnership)

• Ardian Croissance (which focuses on small and medium businesses — from €2 million to €10 million — that can achieve organic growth and have the potential to expand internationally)


The infrastructure segment at Ardian manages approximately $5 billion of assets. It includes investments in water, gas and electricity grids, toll roads and renewable energies.[18]

The third fund closed at €1.75 billion including co-investments and is 45% committed,[23] including the acquisition of the London Luton Airport,[24] which is the fourth-largest airport serving the London area, and Vinci Park which is specialized in construction, financing and operation of car parks in 14 countries around the world.

Private debt[edit]

The Private Debt segment at Ardian manages approximately $4 billion of assets.[18] It was launched in 2005. Ardian has completed 8 unitranche lending deals that range from €40 million to €275 million.

In 2014, the private debt team provided €255 subordinated financing for Ceva Santé Animale[25] a £40 million unitranche financing facility to EAT.

Governance and management[edit]

Ardian was founded and is led by Dominique Senequier, who was one of the first seven women admitted to the French Ecole Polytechnique in France in 1972.[26]

The management team also includes:

• Vincent Gombault, head of Ardian’s Funds of Funds and Private Debt [27]

• Dominique Gaillard, head of Ardian's Direct Funds[28]

• Benoît Verbrugghe, head of Ardian USA[29]

Key figures[edit]

• $50 billion of assets (managed or advised)[2]

• 130 companies in the direct funds portfolio[30]

• 340 employees

• 10 offices (Northern America, Europe and Asia)

• $9.3 billion raised in 2013

• 85% of the employees are shareholders and hold, together, 52% of the company's capital.

Significant Transactions Completed by Ardian[edit]

Direct Funds, Infrastructure and Private Debt[edit]

In 2014, Ardian has more than 130 companies in its current direct portfolio through its different activities.

Year Company Name Activity involved in the transaction Country Ref.
2014 Schleich Mid Cap Buyout Germany [31]
2014 Vinci Park Infrastructure France [32]
2013 The Flexitallic Group Private Debt US [33]
2013 London Luton Airport Infrastructure UK [34]
2012 Bulkypix Ardian Croissance France [35]
2012 Frostkrone Expansion Germany [36]
2012 Ceva Private Debt France [37]
2011 SPIE Co-Investment France [38]
2011 Odiego Mid Cap Buyout Spain [39]
2010 Bravofly Ardian Croissance Switzerland [40]
2007 Diana Ingredients Mid Cap Buyout France [41]
2007 Spotless Group Mid Cap Buyout France [42]
2006 Keolis Co-Investment France [43]
2005 Camaïeu Mid Cap Buyout France [44]
2000 Ardian Croissance France [45]

Funds of Funds[edit]

In 2014, Ardian Funds of Funds' portfolio has about 900 funds with 10,000 underlying companies.[46]

Year Seller Type of assets Size of transaction ($m) Ref.
2014 GE Capital Secondaries 1,300 [47]
2012 OMERS Secondaries 850 [48]
2011 Citi Secondaries 1,700 [49]
2010 Bank of America Secondaries 1,900 [12]


  1. ^ Reuters : AXA spins off private equity arm as "Ardian", September 30, 2013
  2. ^ a b AltAssets, "Ardian celebrates first year of independence by hitting $50bn AUM", October 2, 2014
  3. ^ Financial Times : Ardian Raises $9bn to buy bank assets, April 23, 2014
  4. ^ Les Echos : Dominique Senequier Le private équity à la française, October 15, 2010
  5. ^ Linedata : Our history
  6. ^ IPE : AXA Private Equity opens Frankfurt office, October 04, 2001
  7. ^ Alt Assets : AXA Private Equity plans Asian expansion; office opening and new fund of funds, May 26, 2005
  8. ^ Private Equity News : Industry bodies to debate profit-sharing disclosure, July 21, 2008
  9. ^ Le Monde : Vive le LBO pour tous les salariés !, par Dominique Senequier, May 29, 2008
  10. ^ IJ Global : Infra funds should adapt to offer co-investment, says Ardian, April 01, 2014
  11. ^ CAIA : Risk, return, and cashflow characteristics of private equity investments in infrastructur
  12. ^ a b The New York Times : BofA Sells $1.9 Billion in Assets to Axa P.E., April 22, 2010
  13. ^ Think Advisor : Private Equity Secondary Market Heats Up, April 27, 2014
  14. ^ Private Equity Wire: AXA Private Equity opens Beijing office, November 06, 2012
  15. ^ Alt Assets: Axa Private Equity becomes Ardian after spin-out, September 30, 2013
  16. ^ Le Journal du Net : Les plus importants fonds d'investissement du monde, 30 juin 2014
  17. ^ Source : Private Equity International Annual Review 2013, page 64
  18. ^ a b c d Annual Activity Report 2013
  19. ^ a b Ardian website : Key figures
  20. ^ The Wall Street Journal : AXA Private Equity Buys BofA Portfolio, April 22, 2010
  21. ^ PE HUB: GE Capital to sell $1.3 bln PE portfolio to Ardian, April 29, 2014
  22. ^ PE HUB: Private equity firm Ardian raises largest ever fund of funds: Reuters, April 23, 2014
  23. ^ Private Equity Wire : Ardian appoints Gewolker as director, April 10, 2014
  24. ^ Financial News : AXA Private Equity: why we bought Luton Airport, August 01, 2013
  25. ^ Fusacq Buzz : ARDIAN investit 255 M€ en financement subordonné pour CEVA SANTE ANIMALE, July 18, 2014
  26. ^ Financial Times, Axa’s private equity powerhouse, September 29, 2013
  27. ^ Bloomberg Businessweek, Vincent Gombault's profile
  28. ^ Bloomberg Businessweek, Dominique Gaillard's profile
  29. ^ Bloomberg Businessweek, Benoît Verbrugghe's profile
  30. ^ Official website of Ardian, "key figures"
  31. ^ Reuters : French Ardian buys German toymaker Schleich, May 18, 2014
  32. ^ Unquote: Deal in Focus: Ardian backs €1.96bn Vinci Park buyout, February 24, 2014
  33. ^ PE HUB: Ardian supports Bridgeport’s acquisition of The Flexitallic Group, October 20, 2013
  34. ^ eFinancial News, AXA Private Equity: why we bought Luton Airport, August 1, 2013
  35. ^ Finance Monthly : AXA Private Equiy acquires a stake in Bulkypix to support the company, May 30, 2012
  36. ^ Market Watch : AXA Private Equity buys majority of Frostkrone, August 01, 2012
  37. ^ Ceva : AXA Private Equity soutient le développement de Ceva en structurant un financement additionnel, October 30, 2014
  38. ^ Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec : CD&R and its partners AXA Private Equity and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec complete SPIE acquisition, May 31, 2011
  39. ^ L'Agefi : Le voyagiste Odigeo se refinance en attendant son introduction en Bourse, February 11, 2013
  40. ^ Capital-Investissement : AXA Private Equity prend 6% de Bravofly, September 21, 2010
  41. ^ Nutra Ingredients : Diana sale to AXA Private Equity confirmed, June 06, 2007
  42. ^ Financial Times : AXA puts Spotless up for sale, February 3, 2010
  43. ^ Unquote, AXA Private equity wins Keolis, November 15, 2006
  44. ^ L'Usine Nouvelle : Axa Private Equity prend le contrôle de Camaïeu, January 13, 2005
  45. ^ L'Agefi : veut asseoir sa place de leader sur internet, October 13, 2006
  46. ^ Real Deals : Axa Private Equity closes spin-off, March 25,2013
  47. ^ The Wall Street Journal : Ardian Snags $1.3B Portfolio From GE Capital, April 29, 2014
  48. ^ OMERS to Sell Fund Commitments to AXA Private Equity, July 3, 2012
  49. ^ Reuters: Citigroup sells private equity assets to AXA unit, June 08, 2011

See also[edit]

Articles connexes[edit]

External links[edit]