Partners shifts gaze from secondaries to direct

Fresh from a €517m fund close, Partners Group sees ‘highly attractive' opportunities for direct investments, such as its recent injection £20m in dental chain Oasis.

Partners Group, the Switzerland-based alternatives firm with CHF25 billion (€17.5 billion; $22.4 billion) under management, has shifted its gaze from the secondaries market to opportunities for direct co-investment as it continues to invest its €517 million Partners Group Global Value 2008 fund.

The firm has held a final close on the fund, having raised more than its target of €500 million, it said.

Although the market for secondaries – the trading of private equity fund interests among LPs – remains active, the bid-ask spread has begun to narrow as market distress has subsided, Partners Group said in a statement on Thursday. The firm invested “almost half” of its latest fund in secondaries opportunities during the beginning of the market downturn, when it was able to capitalise on “acute distress” experienced by some market participants.

Partners now sees greater opportunity to invest directly alongside private equity firms.

Stephan Schäli, partner and chairman of Partners’ global portfolio investment committee, commented: “We expect to see highly attractive investment propositions in direct investments both in distressed situations requiring significant restructuring expertise, as well as in value buyout opportunities in small- and mid-cap companies with moderate leverage which offer extensive potential for streamlining operations and future growth.”

Partners Group injected £20 million (€24 million; $30 million) into UK dentist chain Oasis alongside £10 million from the company’s existing financial sponsor Duke Street in April. Partners also recently invested directly in Kaffee Partner, a German supplier of drinks vending machines owned by Berlin-based investment firm Odewald & Compagnie.