Ardian raises $19bn for world’s biggest private equity secondaries fund

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Ardian has hauled in a record-breaking $19bn to close the largest secondaries private equity fund ever raised.

The raise sees Ardian surge ahead of heavyweight PE secondaries rival Lexington Partners, having outdone the $14bn collected by that firm for its Fund IX vehicle at the start of this year.

Ardian previously raised $14bn for its seventh-generation PE secondaries platform in 2016, with $10.8bn of that in the main Fund VII.

The firm collected $14bn for its main Fund VIII vehicle this time around, with another $5bn in co-investment interests.

Ardian said there was particularly strong growth among Asian, Latin American and Middle Eastern investors in terms of commitments to Fund VIII.

The firm’s fund of funds platform, which covers both primary and secondary fund of funds, now has $53bn in assets under management, with an exposure to more than 10,000 portfolio companies through 1,600 underlying funds.

Vincent Gombault, Member of the Executive Committee and Head of Ardian Fund of Funds, said,  “In the current environment, the secondaries market has a crucial role to play in providing institutional investors with liquidity.

“It is a vital tool for pension funds and investors in how they allocate investments in private equity.

“While this is another significant milestone in the growth of our Fund of Funds platform, more important is how it highlights the continued development of the secondaries market.

“It is now a mature market which will only grow in importance for private equity investors in the years to come.”
While tussling closely over top spot for the biggest secondaries PE fund, Ardian and Lexington Partners remain well ahead of the competition.

Landmark hauled in an impressive $7bn for the final close of its latest flagship secondaries fund in 2018 – almost double its initial goal – but has some way to go to catch up with the two titans of the market.

The coronavirus pandemic is set to have a striking effect on the global secondaries fund stakes markets, according to research from Setter Capital.

Buyers expected 2020 volume to decrease by 28.5 per cent from a record $84.4bn in 2019, suggesting 2020 secondary market volume will be about $60bn, Setter’s survey of 39 of the most active and regular secondaries buyers for alternative investment funds showed.

Fundraising is set to slump by similar levels, the survey suggests, with respondents eyeing a 25.6 per cent drop from 2019’s standout total.

Buyers estimated that 67.7 per cent of their purchases would be of funds, with the remainder in direct secondaries, a slightly higher proportion than in 2019, where the split was 66 per cent to 34 per cent.

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