Ardian plans more deals in doubled middle-market fund

  • Firm: Ardian
  • Fund: Ardian LBO Fund VI
  • Hard Cap: $4.5 bln
  • Amount raised: $4.5 bln
  • Total including co-investments: $5 bln

Ardian plans to increase the number of transactions in its middle-market buyout fund, while growing the size of each deal slightly after the Paris firm closed on $5 billion in a four-month capital-raising effort, an executive at the firm said.

Philippe Poletti, head of Ardian Mid Cap Buyout, said the firm plans to keep the sweet spot of its deals at about $225 million to $675 million, but increase the number of portfolio companies to about 20 from 15.

The Paris firm managed to nearly double the size of the fund from the roughly $2.7 billion it drew in for Ardian LBO Fund V in 2013. It’s also opened new offices in the United Kingdom and Spain and increased its overall headcount to 36 from 25.

“We will do more deals than the previous fund partly because we have more people now,” Poletti said.

LPs from the broad insurance sector as well as from Asia comprised a larger percentage of the fund, which drew interest partly because of the firm’s record of generating 2x to 3x on most of its exits from Fund I through Fund V, he said.

While North American LPs comprised about 20 percent of the fund, the firm plans to continue investing only in established European companies.

Ardian raised about an additional 10 percent of the total fund, or about $500 million, for co-investments.

After making two investments from Fund VI this year, Poletti said the firm may soon announce a third deal.

The first two portfolio companies for the fund were Hypred, a French specialist in hygiene solutions for the food and agriculture sectors, and Dedalus, a clinical-health-software provider based in Italy.

While some of Ardian’s middle-market companies may do business in the U.S., the firm has no plans to invest in U.S.-based companies, at least from this fund.

“The U.S. is a great market and it deserves a specific fund with a specific team,” Poletti said. “That may happen one day but not with this one.”

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