Blackstone partners in New Zealand insurer

The investment comes from the firm’s $7 billion Tactical Opportunities Fund.

US private equity firm The Blackstone Group has picked up a minority stake in New Zealand insurance provider Partners Life for NZ$ 200 million ($134 million; €120 million), the firm said.

The deal was structured through Blackstone’s Tactical Opportunities Fund II, a 2015-vintage vehicle that closed on about $7 billion. The fund seeks to capitalise on opportunities that are time-sensitive, complex, or in dislocated markets, Blackstone said on its website.

The fund has received a $654 million from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, $400 million from the New York State Common Retirement Fund, and $200 million from the Florida State Board of Administration, according to PEI Research & Analytics.

Partners Life managing director Naomi Ballantyne said NZ$ 200 million is all new capital and existing shareholders such as Maui Capital, Rangatira Investments and Waterman Capital will remain as co-investors alongside Blackstone. The investment will be used as the company prepares for a future listing.

The Auckland-based insurer has a customer base of 130,000 and offers a full range of life risk products for families and businesses.

Blackstone is one of the world’s largest private equity investors with over $340 billion in assets under management, of which $95 billion is in private equity.

Blackstone’s investments in New Zealand include the Antares Restaurant Group, operator of Burger King restaurants, which it bought from Anchorage Capital Partners in 2011.

In February this year, it acquired a retirement village portfolio from development group Lendlease for about NZ$ 100 million.

The investment in Partners Life is subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals.