AXA spins off private equity arm as "Ardian"
PARIS (Reuters) - French insurer AXA (AXAF.PA) has sealed the spin-off of its private equity arm under the brand name "Ardian", reaping a 200 million-euro capital gain ($270 million) and retaining a 23-percent stake in the unit.
AXA is the latest French financial group to retreat from private equity following banks such as Credit Agricole (CAGR.PA) and BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA).
The terms of the deal, which values Ardian - formerly known as AXA Private Equity - at 510 million euros, were announced in March and remain broadly unchanged.
The deal leaves Ardian's management and employees owning 46 percent of the company, while French family offices and other institutional investors together hold 31 percent.
Ardian's chief, Dominique Senequier, one of France's most well-known financial executives, said the focus was on new growth.
AXA will remain a key partner and has pledged to invest 4.8 billion euros in new funds managed by Ardian over the next five years.
Ardian currently has $36 billion in assets under management, according to Monday's disclosure, making it one of the largest private equity firms in Europe.
AXA had been due to keep a slightly larger stake of 26.9 percent but Senequier told the Financial Times in an interview that demand from employees was higher than expected.
AXA's advisor was Credit Suisse while Ardian's was HSBC. ($1 = 0.7385 euros)
(Reporting by Natalie Huet and Lionel Laurent in Paris, Tommy Wilkes and Sophie Sassard in London; Editing by David Cowell)
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