Exclusive: Ardian puts Fund II on the block

The French manager is looking to sell the €1.1bn vehicle before the end of the year.

Ardian has started a competitive process to divest its entire Fund II, according to several people with knowledge of the process.

The French firm initiated the auction several months ago and has already received offers. It aims to complete the transaction, which involves several bidding rounds, before the end of the year, sources told Infrastructure Investor.

Ardian’s Fund II closed on €1.1 billion in 2007. It is understood that a new structure will be created to manage the portfolio, which comprises eight assets, following completion of the transaction.

Sources attributed Ardian’s decision to diverging interests among limited partners, some of which need to liquidate investments before a given time horizon while others would rather hold on to the assets for a longer period.

Ardian declined to comment.

The firm is currently deploying Fund IV, which closed this January on €2.65 billion. Last month, it strengthened its hold on Portugal’s second-largest motorway network through a €600 million deal with partner Ascendi, a Portuguese developer.

The deal saw Ardian take control of the five motorways owned by Ascendi PT II, a vehicle it established last summer as a 50/50 joint venture alongside Ascendi, as well as two additional toll roads.

In June, Ardian and French insurer Crédit Agricole Assurances upped their stake in Indigo, a car park operator, by buying out original owner Vinci. The transaction gave the co-investors 49.2 percent each of the company.

Ardian’s decision to put Fund II on sale is not without precedent. In November 2014, Dutch-based DIF sold DIF PPP, its maiden infrastructure fund, to Aberdeen Asset Management. The latter now manages the vehicle on behalf of Dutch pension administrator APG.