Wisconsin commits $240m to private equity

Wisconsin’s state investment board, which manages $69bn in assets, has committed to Avenue Capital, Gilde, Lone Star and SAIF Partners, and made a co-investment in HCB.

The State of Wisconsin Investment Board has made $240 million of commitments to Avenue Capital, HCB Holding, Gilde Buy-out Fund, Lone Star and SAIF Partners since April.

The board, which manages $69 billion in pension assets, committed $75 million to Avenue Special Situations Fund VI. Avenue has not disclosed a target amount, but the firm has collected $810 million for the fund, a person with knowledge of the situation told PEO.

Wisconsin committed $50 million each to Lone Star Fund VII, targeting $4 billion, and SAIF Partners IV, which has raised at least $1.25 billion for investments in India, greater China and Korea.

Also, the board approved a co-investment with an unnamed GP of $30 million in HCB Holdings, and $35 million to Gilde Buy-Out Fund IV, a mid-market fund focused on Germany, France and the Benelux countries.

In real estate, the pension committed $75 million to Mesa West Real Estate Income Fund II.

The pension has a target allocation of 6 percent to private markets and debt. SWIB had an actual allocation to private markets and debt of about 11.9 percent in 2009, with about $4 billion in assets.

In May, the pension board set a spending target of $1 billion for private equity this fiscal year, but set the bar high for both existing and new relationships.

The board will focus on several criteria for commitments this year, including looking for smaller funds, growth equity and debt strategies, funds that are sector focused and managers that target emerging markets, according to a strategic review of the private equity programme at a meeting in May.