BlackRock, Strategic Partners in series of tail-end deals

Strategic Partners VII has picked up a glut of stakes in technology-focused funds.

Strategic Partners has picked up stakes in tail-end venture capital funds from BlackRock, according to UK regulatory filings.

The interests comprise investments made by Swiss Re’s private equity fund of funds business before BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, acquired the insurer in 2012, according to a source familiar with the deal.

BlackRock confirmed the transactions.

Blackstone’s secondaries unit used its 2015-vintage Strategic Partners Fund VII to acquire BlackRock’s entire stakes in the 2003-vintage Abingworth Bioventures IV and 2007-vintage Abingworth Bioventures V. The latter sold from its Private Equity Partners II and III funds, of vintages 2002 and 2006, respectively.

London-based Abingworth makes investments of between $15 million and $30 million in life sciences companies over a holding period of three to eight years, according to its website. It has raised 10 core funds, its first being the $51 million 1992-vintage Abingworth Bioventures.

Abingworth IV launched and closed in 2003, raising $350 million. Investors in the fund include Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System which committed $20 million, and fund of funds ATP Private Equity Partners (€20 million).

Assets remaining in the fund include Gynesonics, a California-based firm that develops minimally invasive women’s health devices, according to Abingworth’s website.

Abingworth V closed in January 2007 ON £308 million ($400 million; €359 million). PSERS returned with a $33.8 million investment, ATP with €15 million, with the European Investment Fund (€11.9 million) among the other investors.

Assets remaining in Fund V include Amarin, an Irish biopharma group focused on cardiovascular disease, and US drug developer Hydra Biosciences.

BlackRock also sold its stake in SEP III, a fund managed by Glasgow-based Scottish Equity Partners. The 2006-vintage SEP III raised £160 million to invest in start-ups, focusing on enterprise software, consumer internet and tech-enabled services.

Investors in the fund include the European Investment Fund (€44 million) and Lothian Pension Fund which put in £80 million ($104 million; €93 million).

BlackRock also transferred an interest in Advent Private Equity Fund IV to Strategic Partners.

Fund manager Advent Ventures is a London-based venture capital group which focuses on life sciences and technology plays. Its Advent IV reached final close in December 2004 on £128 million, according to PEI data.

Investors in the fund include Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System ($30 million), EIF (€35.9 million) and Lancashire County Pension Fund (£5 million).

Talking to Secondaries Investor in December 2016, Nathalie von Niederhäusern, a Zurich-based managing director in BlackRock’s Private Equity Partners, expressed the view that secondaries are “over-hyped” and that the fund would be focused on taking advantage of good pricing to sell tail-end stakes.

Blackstone and SEP declined to comment. Abingworth and Advent did not return requests for comment.