AXA and the Caisse renew partnership via €1.5bn agreement

Paris-based AXA Private Equity and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec – Canada’s largest institutional fund manager – are continuing their ten year relationship by establishing a new round of buyout and secondary funds totalling €1.5 billion.

AXA Private Equity – the French buyout and fund of funds manager – and Canadian financial institution Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec have announced their intent to increase their collaborative private equity activities worldwide.

At the centre of the newly announced partnership is the launch of €1.5 billion ($1.84 billion) of new private equity buyout and funds of funds targeting Europe, Asia and North America.

Of particular note is the partnership’s plan to expand into Asia. According to an AXA spokesperson, AXA Private Equity and the Caisse are launching a $500 million fund of funds targeting Asia. Eighty percent of the capital will come from AXA and the Caisse, and the rest of the capital is to be raised from other investors. AXA Private Equity’s Singapore office – opened in August of last year – is headed by managing director Christophe Florin and will cover the firm’s activities in Australia, India, China and elsewhere in Asia.

According to the AXA spokesperson, AXA and the Caisse will also be launching a €450 million global buyout fund, a €300 million to €400 million European fund of funds, and a $200 million US fund of funds.

The two groups first partnered up in 1996 in establishing the €95 million AXA Private Equity Fund (APEF), AXA Private Equity’s first French mid-cap buyout fund. Two years later, AXA and the Caisse launched AXA’s first secondary fund of funds with $220 million in capital in 1998. Since then, the two groups have co-invested in the second generation of AXA Private Equity’s leveraged buyout and secondary fund of funds, in addition to some initiatives on the venture side.

The Caisse, created in 1965 to manage the Québec Pension Plan, has since taken on the management of other organisations and is now Canada’s largest institutional fund manager. As of December 31, the Caisse manages net assets totalling $102.4 billion, with $10.2 billion in its private equity portfolios.

AXA Private Equity manages direct co-investment and funds of funds from its offices in Paris, Frankfurt, London, New York and Singapore. The firm manages more than €7 billion in private equity assets and was recognised last year as the first private equity firm to adopt the Global Investment Performance Standards in France.