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Ardian is managed by the team that founded the company. The firm’s employees are the largest shareholder, backed by institutional shareholders, with whom a common vision is shared. With US$50 billion of assets managed or advised, they invest in a way that responsibly creates enduring value, superior returns and shared outcomes for their investors, partners, portfolio companies and their employees.
By doing this they help create growth and prosperity in economies across the world. Ardian is distinctly European but maintains a global outlook. Entrepreneurship lies at the heart of their culture, fueled by bold and original thinking. There are convinced that a long-term approach to investing delivers sustainable success.
Overview of company history
1996 – Claude Bébéar, founder and former CEO of AXA, aske Dominique Senequier to create a Private Equity division within AXA, offering to put one euro in the fund for every two raised externally. The business begins modestly, with just 10 clients and $129million under management.
2008 – Dominique Senequier begins to raise the somewhat controversial issue of how to more appropriately share the value created in investments. She had always believed in the need to financially reward the employees of portfolio companies upon exit where they have helped to deliver value. This view struck a chord in the darkest days of the financial crisis – yet was also consistent with Ardian’s spirit of responsible investment and accountability.
2010 – Acquired the private equity portfolios of Bank of America (US$1.9bn) and Natixis (US$900m). In this way, Ardian kick-starts the secondary’s market. The company was also highly active with direct investments, selling 65.6% stake in Spotless Group, a manufacturer of cleaning products, after a six-year investment. With Ardian’s support, Spotless had acquired several brands across Europe, establishing a market leading position and multiplying its turnover from €105m to €325m. On completion of the disposal, Spotless’ employees receive a bonus of two months’ salary for their hard work and dedication.
2013 – The company became Ardian. With its employees as the largest shareholder group, Ardian continues to invest in a way that responsibly creates enduring value, superior returns and shared outcomes for investors, partners, portfolio companies and their employees. In 2013, the company has 130 portfolio companies, $47bn of assets under management, 10 offices around the world and 300 investors worldwide – more than half of which are based outside Europe.
2014 – One year after its independence, Ardian achieved $50 billion of assets under management or advised. This represents an increase of US$14 billion during the first 12 months of independence. After the spin-out, the company has been very active, completing three major fundraisings and a broad range of transactions. Ardian closed its sixth generation fund on its Fund of Funds platform, with a grand total of US$10 billion raised from investors worldwide. Furthermore Ardian’s fundraisings in the European growth capital and buyout market were marked with its third generation Expansion fund, which closed with a total of €500 million and surpassed expectations by raising €70 million with its latest Ardian Growth fund.
Ardian entered the private debt market in 2005 with the launch of its first mezzanine fund, and adapted its strategy over time, which has seen it pioneer unitranche lending in Europe. The firm has earned the experience of financing all types of mezzanine transactions. With $4bn managed or advised, the 11-strong team based in Paris and London arranges financings of between €40M and more than €300M under LBO, OBO, management shareholding restructuring, recapitalization or financing build-up.
Ardian has developed a full range of innovative transactions that, it believes, are tailored to a wide range of situations:
- Unitranche financing – a combination of senior and subordinated debt in a single instrument with bullet maturity.
- Mezzanine financing – loans subordinated to bank debt with equity priority.
Ardian maintains focus on unitranche. Ardian is a pioneer of unitranche financing in Europe. This innovative form of financing allows companies to concentrate their investments on external growth. Particularly useful for companies with dynamic growth strategies, this financing is increasingly used by companies and funds.
Created in 2005, the Private Debt team has built a close relationship with investment funds, notably via its team network and through the Fund of Funds activity of the company.