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AXA to become majority shareholder of CAPZA

The deal is part of a new strategic partnership between the firms that will accelerate CAPZA’s growth in European SME investing.

French insurer AXA will become a majority shareholder of private markets investor CAPZA as part of a partnership to enhance its offering to European private equity and private debt for SMEs.

The deal will accelerate CAPZA’s development, with an ambition to double the firm’s assets under management within five years.

Paris-based CAPZA has already significantly increased its AUM from €2.4 billion in 2018 to €6.1 billion at the end of 2022. In that time, the firm has doubled its workforce, opened an office in Italy and launched two new strategies.

Subject to regulatory authorisation, AXA will become a majority shareholder in the GP, although the firm will continue to have an independent management team. AXA will make an additional investment commitment of €3.5 billion over five years, spread across CAPZA strategies. AXA said the commitment will enable it to deploy additional capital in the European SME market.

CAPZA’s growth plans will see it expand its geographical deployment in countries where it has historically been present and open an office in Amsterdam this year to serve the Benelux region. It will also launch a new fund aimed at the European mid-market.

The firm will also acquire outstanding shares in subsidiary Artemid from Amiral Gestion to fully integrate the business.

Commenting on the deal, CAPZA executive chairman Christophe Karvelis Senn said: “Since the strengthening of our relationship in 2015, AXA has preserved our identity and culture.

“Our past and future management autonomy is the guarantee of our model, which has made us successful to this day.”

AXA IM alts’ deputy head Deborah Shire added: “Our offerings are complementary and we share a proven ability to transform convictions into broadly deployable investment strategies that generate performance for our clients, as well as a culture focused on rigorous risk management and the ambition to integrate ESG aspects into all stages of the process.”