Side Letter: Happy Holidays from Side Letter, McGlashan’s defence, Varde’s $2.5bn

Wishing you a very Happy Holidays from the Side Letter crew! We'll return on 6 January for more industry insight and low-downs. In the meantime, here’s today's last brief of the year, as always, for our valued subscribers only.

Just happened

Side Letter year one: What we learned

At the start of the year we launched Side Letter as a vessel to bring subscribers a timely brief of what to read, why to read it and why we think it matters. We’ve had fun writing it and hope you found it fun – and more importantly valuable – to read.

So what did we learn in the first year of Side Letter? One thing is that nothing elicits reader response like an “inside tip”: a teaser of a story that the PEI team is working on and is not quite ready to unveil. Another is that no one type of content trumps all others; the data tell us that you are equally interested in the demise of emerging markets firm Abraaj Group as you are in Howard Marks’ thoughts on the Stop Wall Street Looting Act or revelations about Japanese pension giant GPIF’s investment strategy (these were some of our most opened and clicked-on emails of the year). We also learned that it’s not easy to come up with six perfectly formed puns four times a week.

We have tinkered with the format throughout year one and will continue to do so, so please keep emailing to tell us what you like and what you don’t.

The Side Letter team (pictured without Europe senior reporter Carmela Mendoza who is travelling) is taking a break over the festive season and will return fully energised in January. Thanks to all of you who have read us and to those who wrote to us with feedback. We love it and would welcome more.


McGlashan update. The Rise Fund co-founder Bill McGlashan filed his defence argument regarding the college admissions scandal with the US District Court of Massachusetts on Wednesday. It’s a 32-page document that claims, among other things, McGlashan did not pay a single dollar for Rick Singer’s “side door” scheme into the University of Southern California. For a refresher on the allegations and what they mean for impact investing, revisit our coverage here and here.

Tikehau’s HNWI push. Wealthy Italians appear to be hungry for alternatives. France’s Tikehau Capital has raised more than €400 million from Italian high-net-worth individuals for a multi-asset fund targeting private equity, private debt, real estate and special opportunities. The capital was raised from almost 3,000 clients of the Fideuram – Intesa Sanpaolo Private banking networks.

Lucky number 13. Värde Partners has pulled in almost $2.5 billion for its 13th flagship fund, beating its $2 billion target and out-raising its $1.74 billion predecessor by 44 percent. It will invest in credit and credit-related assets. Per a statement, Värde expects opportunities to be “driven by systemic distress factors”, such as financial systems retaining persistent high levels of non-performing loans. Co-CIO Ilfryn Carstairs said there are “significant pockets of distress” around the world against a “backdrop of intense economic uncertainty” which should lead to growing investment opportunities.

Inside tip

Have news or views you’d like to share with us, on this or else? We’d love to hear from you.

Dig deeper

Funds in market update. By our account, 2020 is looking like it will be another year of mega-fund closes with at least seven vehicles in market chasing $10 billion or more as of mid-December. For more information on fundraisings as well as more than 5,900 institutions, check out the PEI database.

They said it (with chocolate)

Alternative asset management consultancy MJ Hudson gets into the festive PE spirit with some aptly named industry truffles. Spoiler alert: The ILPA principle and Death by leverage are particularly tasty.

We would love your feedback to help us make this newsletter more useful; click here to give us your opinion.

Wishing you a very Happy Holiday and end of year from Toby MitchenallIsobel MarkhamAdam LeCarmela MendozaRod James, and Alex Lynn.

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