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Axa, LGT confirm €620m HSH Nordbank deal

Axa Private Equity has confirmed the purchase of €620m worth of limited partnership interests from HSH Nordbank alongside LGT Capital Partners, the third major secondary play by the French captive this year.

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Axa Private Equity has confirmed the purchase of €620m worth of limited partnership interests from HSH Nordbank alongside LGT Capital Partners, the third major secondary play by the French captive this year. 

Axa has bought 47 LP interests in 18 separate funds investing in European mid- and large-cap buyouts. The funds represent €478m in original commitments. 

As part of the joint deal LGT has taken 29 LP stakes, representing €369m in original commitments.

At €620m, the transaction represents a €227m discount to the commitments made by HSH Nordbank to the various private equity funds before it bowed to regulatory pressures.  

LGT is thought to be readying a new secondaries fund after closing Crown Global Secondaries III on $1.2bn (€830m) last year.

Including this deal the Swiss firm has completed 35 secondary transactions worth a total $1bn in the past year. 

Axa closed its latest secondaries vehicle, Axa Secondary V, on $3bn, edging closer to a $3.5bn target. 

The private equity arm of the French insurer has acquired over $5bn of secondary private equity fund portfolios from institutions such as Bank of America and Citigroup over the past 18 months. Most recently, Axa took on a number of fund stakes from Barclays Capital in a deal worth £460m (€525m).

Vincent Gombault, managing director for funds of funds at Axa Private Equity, said the firm has been adapting “quickly to a new market environment and acquiring high-quality assets that have remained strong despite the financial crisis”.

HSH Nordbank, which was bailed out by the German government in February 2009 to the tune of €3bn plus €10bn in guarantees, was forced to sell to Axa to meet the requirements of EU competition authorities.

Gombault estimates that $40bn to $50bn in banks' private equity assets will come up for sale over the next two years as they bow to pressure from regulators to clean out their books.