Ardian (company)

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Privately held company
Industry Private equity
Predecessor AXA Private Equity
Founded Paris, France (1996 (1996)) -->
Founder 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
Number of employees

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 raises money from about 346 investors from various domains (institutional investors, Funds of Funds, government agencies, sovereign funds, family offices, pension funds and insurance companies).[3]

Included in its portfolio are Vinci Park, London Luton Airport and SPIE.


Originally a subsidiary of AXA, the company operated under the name AXA Private Equity. It wasn't until 2013, when the firm moved to an independent status, that it changed its name to Ardian.

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

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

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

In 2005, the company opened an office in Singapore and became involved in the Asian market.[7] The same year, AXA Private Equity launched its Infrastructure investment strategy.

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

In 2008, Dominique Senequier insisted on distributing a higher percentage of the company's capital gains to the employees of the companies in Ardian's portfolio.[8][9]

In 2009, 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 infrastructure systems between 2005 and 2014.[10][11]

In 2010, during the increased activity in the private equity secondary market, Ardian acquired a US $1.9 billion private equity portfolio from Bank of America[12] and a US $ 900 million portfolio from Natixis.[13]

In 2012, the company opened an office 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-off from the AXA Group and renamed the firm Ardian. Per the terms of the deal, AXA Group retained ownership of 23% of the firm, management and employees owned 46%, and the remaining 31% was held by French family offices and institutions. Currently, 85% of employees are shareholders.[15]

In 2013, Private Equity International ranked Ardian in the largest private equity firms 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 primary, early secondary and secondary 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 under management.[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 values ranging from €150 million to €1.5 billion).

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

• Co-Investment (an activity that 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]

Ardian's third infrastructure 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 specializes in construction, financing and operation of car parks in 14 countries around the world.

Private debt[edit]

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

See also[edit]

Articles connexes[edit]

External links[edit]