The company ends its second decade as the world’s fourth largest private investment manager in terms of private equity assets under management (including Infrastructure).
From a single French buyout fund, today Ardian is Continental Europe’s leading private investment company and now has 580 LPs. It is the world’s biggest player in secondary Funds of Funds, raising a record $14bn for its latest fund, while its new Mid Cap Buyout fund closed at €4.5bn.
The company extends its global network to 12 offices, opening new bases in Madrid and San Francisco.
Ardian’s arrival on the US West Coast consolidates its presence in North America and enables it to develop stronger client relationships in this important market, while the Madrid office reinforces the company’s leading position in Europe’s major economies.
Real Estate becomes the company’s fifth pillar with the appointment of Bertrand Julien-Laferrière to lead the investment team.
Ardian’s Real Estate activities initially focus on major cities in France, Germany and Italy, and target high quality office properties. The addition of Real Estate expands the range of yield-producing private market assets that the company can offer to clients.
AXA Private Equity is spun off as an independent, employee-controlled private investment company. It simultaneously rebrands as Ardian.
The new company is launched with more than 80% employees as founding shareholders, and a strategy of becoming Europe’s leading global private investment company. Its corporate values are Excellence, Loyalty and Entrepreneurship.
Ardian opens an office in Beijing as part of its long-term plan to build relationships and expand in this strategically vital market.
A permanent presence in Beijing allows Ardian to develop new relationships with local investors, who have since made several large commitments, to identify local co-investment opportunities and to help our portfolio companies expand and acquire operations in China.
Benoît Verbrugghe moves to New York to head Ardian’s US business and develop the company’s presence in North America.
Upgrading its US presence enables Ardian to form closer relations with both the large North American GPs that feature the Funds of Funds portfolio and major investors such as pension systems and institutions. The office now has 32 staff.
The Foundation provides a single, global organization through which Ardian can offer human and financial backing for its chosen social programs.
It adopts a mission to enable talented young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to achieve their potential through education. Today, the Foundation gives financial support and 100 Ardian staff provide monthly, one-to-one mentoring for more than 100 students in four countries.
Writing in Le Monde, Ardian’s founder calls for the value realized from successful private equity investments to be shared with all employees.
At the same time, Ardian commits whenever possible to share up to 5% of the capital gain on exit with the staff of the portfolio company. So far, Ardian has distributed about €19m among 8,200 employees since 2008.
Ardian moves into Italy, establishing a team of local investment professionals to work alongside its operations in France and Germany.
The Milan office strengthens Ardian’s position across the three major markets in Continental Europe: France, Germany and Italy. Initially sourcing deals for the Mid Cap Buyout team, it quickly expands to work on transactions for the Infrastructure and Expansion funds.
Ardian adds its third and fourth investment pillars, Infrastructure and Private Debt, and expands its Direct Funds into Co-Investment.
The new pillars, led by Mathias Burghardt (Infrastructure), Olivier Berment and Mark Brenke (Private Debt) and Alexandre Motte (Co-Investment), give the company a much wider range of asset classes and today make Ardian the most diversified private investment company in Europe.
With the establishment of an office in Singapore Ardian for the first time gains a permanent presence in Asia.
The Asian expansion that begins in Singapore allows Ardian to strengthen its ties with investors, advisers and entrepreneurial companies in some of the world’s fastest growing economies and to identify growth opportunities for its Europe-focused portfolio companies.
The addition of Expansion allows Ardian target deals with companies that are seeking to expand beyond their domestic market.
Launched by Dominique Gaillard (in picture) and headed by François Jerphagnon, Expansion sits naturally between Ardian’s smaller Growth transactions and its larger Mid Cap Buyout deals. Today, the Expansion team has 20 professionals based in France, Germany and Italy and has made a total of 46 investments.
The opening of the Frankfurt office signals Ardian’s intention to become a leader in each of Continental Europe’s major economies.
Ardian’s decision to start creating a European network of well-connected local investment teams demonstrates its distinctive approach to sourcing transactions. It pays off as the Frankfurt office lands a string of major deals and becomes one of Germany’s leading players.
Vincent Gombault launches Ardian’s Secondary Funds of Funds activity in Paris to buy and sell portfolios of private equity holdings.
The business that Ardian established nearly 20 years ago is now its largest single activity. The Secondary Funds of Funds portfolio contains more than 1,400 funds and Ardian alone consistently accounts for about 20% of the $30bn-$40bn annual global transactions in this market.
The company establishes its first two bases outside Paris, opening offices in London and New York.
Gaining a presence in the world’s two major financial centers helps foster closer relations with the major investors, banks and GPs that Ardian deals notably with in the Funds of Funds business. Today, the Funds of Funds operation is led from London and New York.
The French IT services company GSI Banque becomes Ardian’s very first transaction – and one that sets a benchmark for the company.
Over seven years Ardian works with the management to complete a series of acquisitions in Europe and the US that transform GSI Banque from a company with €12m of revenues and 80 staff to one with €100m of revenues and 800 staff.
Led by Laurent Foata, Ardian Growth invests in younger, high-growth companies that are often owned and managed by their founders.
The team identifies ambitious and profitable businesses across all industrial sectors in France and Southern Europe, especially those that apply technology to create a competitive advantage in their market. It then invests to propel them to the next level, often including international expansion.
Ardian’s founding investment team begins seeking transactions among mid-sized private companies based in France but with international ambitions.
The Mid Cap Buyout team, led by Philippe Poletti, has now raised six LBO funds to help mid-market companies accelerate their international expansion through acquisitions and organic growth. The multi-local team of 40 is based in Paris, Frankfurt, Milan, Madrid and London.
The company is born when AXA's founder, Claude Bébéar, asks Dominique Senequier to create a Private Equity division for the insurer.
With support from its parent, which pledges to commit one euro to the fund for every two raised externally, AXA Private Equity starts its first fundraising. The company begins with 10 clients and $129 million under management.