AXA Private Equity completes spin-out

The French fund manager will now operate as Ardian, an independent firm led by AXA PE’s founder and executive management.

Paris-based AXA Private Equity has completed its spin-out from insurer AXA Group to become Ardian, a private equity and infrastructure investment firm. 
AXA PE’s executive management, including founder Dominique Senequier, managing directors Vincent Gombault and Dominique Gaillard and head of AXA PE USA Benoît Verbrugghe, are the largest shareholders in the new entity, of which they own a 46 percent stake. They will remain at the helm of the business and remain in full operational control of the company. 
Mathias Burghardt, head of infrastructure at AXA PE, will retain his role under the new name, a spokesperson for Ardian told Infrastructure Investor. 
European institutions and family offices own 31 percent of the firm, while AXA Group retains a 23 percent stake. The insurer has announced its intention to commit €4.8 billion in new funds managed by Ardian over the next five years. 
The spin-out valued Ardian at €510 million at the time of the announcement in March. AXA is set to reap €488 million in proceeds from the sale, Private Equity International earlier reported. These include an up-front payment of about €348 million and deferred consideration of up to €140 million. 
The news come just two months after AXA Private Equity and Spanish state-owned airport operator Aena bought Luton Airport from Abertis, a Barcelona-based infrastructure conglomerate, for £394.4 million (€473 million; $640 million). The acquisition marked the first airport deal ever sealed by the firm, which will own a 49 percent stake in the 10 million-passenger terminal upon completion of the transaction. 
Luton Airport was also AXA PE’s sixth deal out of its third infrastructure fund, which reached a final close on €1.45 million, with an additional €300 million allocated to co-investments. Prior to the transaction, the vehicle had deployed a little over €700 million across five assets, with 50 percent of this amount later syndicated to co-investors. 
AXA allocates around 9 percent of total assets to infrastructure, according to Infrastructure Investor’s Research and Analytics division. The firm, which manages around $36 billion, is currently raising its LBO Fund V with a target of €2 billion.