Goldman among buyers of Shell portfolio

The asset management arm of the Dutch energy company overcame market volatility to sell a €700m private equity portfolio, though planned to sell more.

Shell Asset Management Company has ridden market volatility to offload a sizeable portfolio of private equity stakes.

The asset management arm of the oil and gas super-major sold around €700 million of stakes as part of a process that closed in April, it said in its 2021 annual report. The deal priced at par based on year-end valuations.

Goldman Sachs was one of several buyers of the portfolio, according to two sources familiar with the matter. Among the funds it acquired were tail-end stakes in funds managed by owner of PEI Media Bridgepoint and Apax Partners, according to filings. It also sold a stake in 2016-vintage North Edge Capital II, a UK mid-market PE fund.

It is not clear who the other buyers are. The close of the deal was first reported by IPE.

Secondaries Investor reported in January that Shell was planning to sell interests in 55 funds with a value of $1.3 billion as part of a process run by PJT Partners. The largest exposure, representing $200.7 million of net asset value, was to Blackstone’s Fund VI.

Market volatility has since made buyers less willing to acquire large, highly diversified portfolios, at least until valuations settle, Secondaries Investor noted in April. It is not clear if the Blackstone stake was sold.

Shell’s private equity portfolio went from €3.15 billion in size at the end of 2020 to €4.1 billion at the  end of 2021. This strongly increased PE’s weighting relative to Shell’s overall portfolio and led it to sell, according to the annual report.

Traditional LP volume was $64 billion in 2021, representing a 156 percent increase from 2020, as the strong performance of private equity led LPs to sell down stakes in order to rebalance their portfolios, according to Jefferies. LP-led deals accounted for 48 percent of total secondaries transaction volumes, the investment bank noted.

Goldman and PJT Partners did not wish to comment. Shell did not reply to a request for comment.