Buyout firm Ardian to raise $500 mln fund for new N. American arm, says source: Reuters

French private equity firm Ardian is set to raise a $500 million fund as it jointly launches a North American direct investment business on Thursday, a source familiar with the matter said.

The $500 million fund would finance investments made by a new buyout arm, said the source who declined to be named as the person is not authorised to speak publicly on the matter.

Ardian, which manages about $60 billion, is partnering with New York-based private equity firm Seven Mile Capital Partners to start a buyout arm focusing on mid-sized industrial deals and other related businesses, the two companies said in a statement.

Ardian did not disclose how it plans to finance the buyout arm and declined to comment on fund-raising plans and the $500 million figure.

Fundraising activity in the buyout business has grown more competitive as increasingly discerning investors turn their cash over to a smaller pool of better-performing private equity firms.

Investors funnelled $101 billion into 180 buyout funds in the second quarter this year, down from a peak of 334 funds in the fourth quarter of 2013, figures from private equity data provider Preqin showed.