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AXA closes $1bn secondaries fund

AXA Investment Managers Private Equity has announced the final closing of its latest mid-market secondaries fund on $1bn: well ahead of an original target fund size of $800m.

Paris-based AXA Investment Managers Private Equity has closed its AXA Secondary Fund III on $1 billion (€749 million). It said it had increased the size of the fund from a planned $800 million “due to investor demand”.

In a statement, the firm said it would use the fund to acquire limited partnership interests in buyout, growth equity and venture capital funds investing primarily in Europe and North America.

Illustrating the current popularity of private equity secondaries fundraisings, AXA’s Fund III is more than twice as large as the predecessor Fund II, which closed on $480 million in December 2001. Prior to that, AXA had raised a $220 million fund in 1998.

In October 2004, AXA acquired 21 partially funded limited partnership interests from Deutsche Bank in a $120 million deal funded by the $250 million early secondary fund of funds it closed in March of this year.   

Jonathan de Lance-Holmes, a private equity funds partner at law firm Linklaters, which advised AXA on Fund III, said the fundraising “further illustrates that as the private equity asset class matures secondary transactions are developing into an established and important part of the sector”.

This point has been underlined by a series of successful private equity secondaries fundraisings this year. In September, Switzerland’s Partners Group closed its first dedicated secondary vehicle, Partners Group Secondary LP, on €500 million, having reportedly attracted €800 million of requests. In July, the UK’s Pantheon rounded up $900 million for its second global secondary fund.
 
AXA Private Equity has offices in Paris, London, Frankfurt and New York, and has responsibility for assets worth €6.5 billion that are invested across a broad range of different private equity strategies.