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CPPIB breaks LP portfolio sale drought with close of mega-sale

The Canadian pension giant is understood to have sold chunks of the portfolio, worth as much as $2.5bn in total, to separate buyers.

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, the world’s biggest investor in private equity according to the GI 100, has completed what appears to be the largest portfolio sale to close since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Toronto-headquartered pension has sold around $2.5 billion-worth of private fund stakes in a deal that is understood to have closed in recent weeks. Secondaries Investor understands the portfolio was split between a handful of buyers, who each bid on and acquired separate chunks.

Among the buyers were Goldman Sachs Asset Management and Singapore’s GIC, according to three sources familiar with the matter.

The sale is understood to rank among the largest portfolio sales of all time, which includes Norinchukin Bank’s $5 billion sale to Ardian, Australian sovereign wealth fund Future Fund’s A$6 billion ($4.3 billion; €3.6 billion)-worth of sales over the past year, and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System’s $3 billion sale of real estate fund stakes in 2015.

The portfolio contained many newer-vintage funds and priced “significantly above par” based on 31 March net asset value, according to one of the sources.

The portfolio included co-investment stakes, according to another source.

Sister publication Buyouts reported in August that the pension was working with advisor PJT Partners to offload a portfolio of stakes.

In April, CPPIB closed the sale of a $1.2 billion portfolio to Ardian and Lexington Partners, one of the only big portfolios to trade hands at the height of the covid-19 crisis.

CPPIB’s head of secondaries Michael Woolhouse left the pension in July to set up a secondaries investment business at private equity giant TPG. He has been replaced by Dushy Sivanithy, Secondaries Investor reported last week.

In early September, senior principal Nik Morandi also left CPPIB’s secondaries team. The pension made around $500 million of secondaries investments in the 12 months to end-March, down almost 90 percent on the previous fiscal year.

CPPIB had $80.7 billion allocated to to private equity as of 1 July, making it the world’s biggest investor in the asset class, according to the GI 100, published by sister publication Private Equity International in July.

CPPIB, PJT Partners and Goldman Sachs declined to comment. GIC did not respond to a request for comment.

– Adam Le contributed to this report.