Ardian lands $1.75bn PE portfolio from PSERS

PSERS has sold 17 LP interests in an effort to reduce its exposure to private equity.

Paris-based Ardian has acquired a $1.75 billion portfolio of 17 limited partner stakes in private equity funds from the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS), according to a statement.

Most of the positions sold were in US-based large-cap and mid-market funds, a spokesperson from Ardian told Secondaries Investor. 

PSERS, which has $52 billion of assets under management sold the portfolio in an effort to restructure its asset allocation.

“PSERS is endeavouring to reduce its exposure to private equity to 15 percent of the fund’s size, and the depth of the secondary market makes possible a large asset sale that will bring up closer to our long-term target,” PSERS chief investment officer James Grossman said in the statement.

Cogent Partners advised PSERS on the transaction, which closed in December 2014.

The PSERS portfolio is one of several large acquisitions Ardian completed last year. In September the firm closed a $2.38 billion deal for 40 LP interests from an undisclosed sovereign wealth fund. Earlier in 2014, Ardian bought a portfolio of 36 LP interests from another sovereign wealth fund for $1.36 billion. It also purchased a portfolio of stakes from GE Capital in April.

“With our deep knowledge of the market, our focus tends to be on larger deals with quality assets where we can achieve a good outcome for both sides,” Ardian managing director of fund of funds Mark Benedetti said.

The portfolio acquisitions come months after Ardian closed its sixth secondaries fund on roughly $9 billion. The fund was expected to be deployed over a five-year period, Ardian had said. However as of September, about 50 percent of the fund had been invested, two sources familiar with the matter told Secondaries Investor.