Washington State bets on KKR, Oaktree, Cinven

The $80.4bn pension system has committed up to $1.05bn to funds targeting opportunities in Asia, Europe and distressed debt.

The Washington State Investment Board has approved three commitments to private equity managers worth a total of $1.05 billion, according to spokeswoman Liz Mendizabal.

The $80.4 billion pension will commit up to $400 million to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts’ Asian Fund II, a re-up commitment following Washington’s $400 million investment in the firm’s debut Asia fund in 2007, and up to $400 million to Oaktree Opportunities Fund IX.

KKR is targeting between $4 billion and $6 billion for the fund, according to Washington State. The firm’s first Asia fund collected $4 billion in 2007, attracting commitments from limited partners including the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and HarbourVest Partners.

Oaktree Opportunities Fund IX, which will invest in distressed debt opportunities, is also targeting between $4 billion and $6 billion and includes the Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Board as a limited partner.

Washington State also approved a commitment of up to €192 million toCinven’s fifth buyout fund, which is targeting €5 billion for investments in Europe. Cinven represents an existing relationship for Washington State, which committed to the all four of the firm’s predecessor vehicles. It most recently committed €125 million to Fund IV in 2006.

Last December, Washington State committed up to $750 million to Warburg Pincus’ 11th flagship fund, matching the pension’s commitment to the firm’s previous fund and brining Washington’s overall commitment to the firm to more than $3 billion.

The retirement system has close to 19 percent of its assets, $15.1 billion, committed to private equity as of 30 September, according to its website. Washington launched its private equity programme in 1981.