KKR Said to Have Bid for AXA PE While BlackRock Pulls Out

The sale of AXA PE has moved onto the next stage.

Bids for AXA PE are due this week. KKR, Onex Corp., Caisse des Depots et Consignation, a state-owned French bank, and Government of Singapore Investment Corp., the Singapore sovereign wealth fund, have submitted proposals, according to Dow Jones. More bids may come in the next few days, Dow Jones says.

BlackRock, the global asset manager, was considering making a proposal for AXA PE but pulled out as of last Friday, a source tell peHUB. “It was all very preliminary and we didn’t get very far into it at all,” the source says.

3i Group is also considering bidding for AXA PE and has hired the Blackstone Group to advise on the offer, Bloomberg says.

Credit Suisse is advising AXA on the sale. AXA PE could be valued at roughly 500 million Euros or $672 million, according to Bloomberg. Sky News, meanwhile, says the unit could fetch as much as $1.5 billion.

Economic fears put a damper on deals in Q3 with global M&A dropping 21% to $595.2 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal. Q4 isn’t expected to get any better.

Because of this gloomy outlook, the sale of AXA PE is getting a lot of buzz. Sky News on Sept. 23 reported that AXA had put its PE funds manager up for sale. Paris-based AXA PE manages roughly $28 billion of assets. The unit is part of AXA Investment Managers.

My list of potential bidders included several PE firms, such as Carlyle, KKR and the Blackstone Group. Large asset managers like BlackRock or Invesco could also be involved, as well as some insurance firms, I said. Last week there were several reports that KKR and BlackRock would be bidding for AXA PE.

BlackRock declined to comment. Officials for AXA PE and KKR couldn’t be reached for comment.