Ardian picks up $1bn Maryland portfolio – exclusive

The $52bn US pension joins a growing list of North American institutions that have sold large portfolios this year.

Ardian has emerged as the buyer of a private markets portfolio sold by Maryland State Retirement and Pension System, Secondaries Investor has learned.

The $51.9 billion US pension chose advisor Evercore in August after issuing a request for information in March to help it identify assets for a potential sale. The value of the stakes that Ardian has agreed to buy is worth around $1 billion, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

The deal is yet to close, it is understood.

Maryland joins a group of North American public pensions that have brought $1 billion-plus portfolios to market this year, including Los Angeles County Employees’ Retirement Association and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.

The Baltimore-based pension had said in its RFI it wanted to determine which assets to sell, the expected valuation of those assets on the secondaries market, the optimal structure for the sale and a go-to-market strategy that would maximise value.

The potential sale could include private equity, private credit and private real estate funds, according to the RFI. It is unclear which funds and strategies were ultimately included in the portfolio.

The pension’s largest private equity commitments include a $300 million stake in the 2016-vintage Tiger Iron Old Line Fund and a $300 million interest in the 2016-vintage Lexington Co-Investment Partners IV vehicle, the RFI shows.

Private equity was Maryland’s best-performing asset class for the year ending 30 June, delivering an almost 20 percent return, according to an August statement. It accounted for 12.5 percent of the pension’s total portfolio.

LP positions accounted for 63 percent of the $32 billion in deal volume in the first half of this year, according to Evercore’s H1 2018 Secondary Market Survey Results.

Evercore and Maryland declined to comment. Ardian did not return a request for comment by press time.