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Axa Private Equity back for more secondaries

Hot on the heels of one of the biggest secondaries transactions on record, Axa Private Equity has now sealed a £460m (€508.4m) deal with UK bank Barclays for yet another batch of fund stakes.

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Hot on the heels of one of the biggest secondaries transactions on record, Axa Private Equity has now sealed a £460m (€508.4m) deal with UK bank Barclays for yet another batch of fund stakes. 

No price has been announced for the deal so the discount is not clear, but the portfolio includes limited partnership interests and co-investments in buyout funds owned by the bank, not Barclays Private Equity. 

This marks Axa's second major secondaries play in just a month, after it took a whopping $1.7bn (€1.2bn) in LP interests from Citigroup. 

Vincent Gombault, a managing director at Axa Private Equity, said: "We love these kinds of large deals. We have used our unique expertise to assess and acquire a portfolio of quality funds that are well known to [us] and managed by high-calibre GPs.”

The firm has been aggressively wading into the market since last year, when it bought $1.8bn in private equity assets from Bank of America and $900m from French bank Natixis in the same week.  

Opportunists are taking advantage of banks bowing to pressure to sell off positions in funds. In Europe, Basel III regulation will make it more costly to hold private equity exposure as it must be matched with cash on hand as a safety measure. 

“We see these transactions as part of a broader market trend which comprises an increase in financial institution-related deals driven by regulatory factors,” said Gombault. 

Large deals are being closed now because of a price recovery that makes the market more conducive to sales. Gombault sees discounts to NAV as having climbed from 60 per cent to single digits. 


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