Norway’s Storebrand on why it bought Cubera

Why build an in-house secondaries team when you can buy one? Storebrand Asset Management talks to Secondaries Investor about its acquisition of Cubera Private Equity this week.

On Monday Norwary’s largest private asset manager announced it had agreed to acquire Nordic secondaries firm Cubera Private Equity for around $35 million. Secondaries Investor caught up with Jan Erik Saugestad, Storebrand Asset Management executive vice-president, who said this isn’t the firm’s first foray into secondaries.

Could you tell how the Cubera acquisition came about? Why were you looking to add private equity secondaries capabilities to your investment team?

We are very excited about this deal. There has been an extensive dialogue between the Cubera Partners and Storebrand Asset Management. Both parties have seen the strong industrial logic in the deal and the benefits of primary and secondary investment capabilities in the same firm. Cubera and Storebrand both have long experience and deep private equity expertise, but we operate in different markets and with different investors.

Joining forces will strengthen our position both in the Nordics and internationally. Cubera is a Nordic firm offering investors exposure to Nordic private equity primarily through the secondary market. The firm is a leading player within the space and has around NKr9 billion ($1 billion; €921 million) under management, mainly from international investors. Storebrand has more than 20 years of experience with private equity and more than NKr 19 billion invested globally for Nordic clients.

(L-R) Jan Erik Saugestad, executive vice-president, Storebrand Asset Management; Kine Buroy-Olsen, managing partner, Cubera; Jorgen Kjaernes, partner, Cubera.

Did you also consider building an organic in-house secondaries team? 

It is always an option to build capacity and capability organic in-house. However, this takes a long time, and when Cubera and Storebrand shared the same ambitions and view on the industrial logic we wanted to be able to provide our clients with the combined offering faster.

What was attractive about Cubera team that led to the acquisition?

Cubera has built a strong investment process that has yielded strong returns for its clients. They have successfully built close client relationships and an extensive network in the industry. They are talented people and represent a firm that is well positioned to attract talent going forward. The combined private equity operations will be a leading Nordic player going forward.

What are your plans for building out the secondaries team?

Both the primary and secondary programs of Cubera and Storebrand will continue as before on an even more robust platform.

What is Storebrand’s prior experience in the secondaries market? Have you ever bought or sold private fund stakes?

The SIPE program (Storebrand International Private Equity) has opportunistically both acquired secondaries stakes and co-invested in single companies in accordance with the investment mandate.

What was the size of the stake in Cubera that Storebrand has acquired?

We acquired 100 percent of the company. The partners have committed to invest more than half of the proceeds from the transaction in the new funds to be raised by Cubera.

Jan Erik Saugestad is executive vice-president of asset management at Storebrand. He joined the firm in 1999 and has held roles there including chief investment officer.