Ardian raises €1bn for mid-market deals

The fund will invest in Spain for the first time

Dominique Gaillard, head of direct funds at Ardian, told sister publication Private Equity News that the firm had closed its Expansion Fund IV after increasing the upper limit on the fund twice.

The new fund is double the size of its predecessor – the Axa spin-out closed its third expansion fund, which targets businesses worth up to €225 million, at €500 million in 2014.

Gaillard said that the new fund would do about 20 deals putting €45 million to €50 million into each deal, compared with about 15 deals of around €35 million for the previous fund.

Gaillard said that, in common with previous funds, the new vehicle will not invest in the UK. He said that the firm had been evaluating its portfolio and talking to investors since the vote for the UK to leave the EU.

“We are as shocked as you are probably,” he said. “What we did on Friday morning, we asked all the companies that we are investing in today, we asked them to calculate all the negative or positive of the Brexit. Especially because of the drop of the pound. Depending on whether the companies we are investing in are exporters or importers to the UK, it can have a negative or positive impact. We are collecting this data and monitoring it.”

He added: “We have been through several crises and the private equity community so far did manage to go through these crises without a lot of negative impact. So we hope that we are well structured enough to go through this new crisis without any major damage on our companies.”

Gaillard said that the fund would invest in Spain for the first time, alongside France, Germany, Italy, Belgium and Austria. He added that the firm saw strong opportunities in Italy.

“We want to expand the geographical scope of the fund to Spain as you may have heard we opened an office in Madrid last year… We think that the Spanish market for this segment will be really fruitful,” he said. “France and Germany are countries where competition is very tough, where auctions are a natural way to sell companies. Whereas Italy is more a market of connections, you can find very attractive companies with out a full auction process being held by Rothschild or Lazard.”

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