Wisconsin sells BC stakes to Strat Partners

The State of Wisconsin Investment Board has been on a secondaries selling spree this month, divesting stakes in BC Partners, Charterhouse Capital Partners and 3i.

The State of Wisconsin Investment Board has sold its stakes in BC European Capital VII and Fund VII Top-up to The Blackstone Group’s Strategic Partners, according to a UK regulatory filing.

Fund VII closed on €4.27 billion in 2000 and raised a subsequent €700 million Top-up fund in 2001, according to PEI’s Research and Analytics division.

Fund VII limited partners include the California State Teachers’ Retirement System and Liberty Mutual Insurance Company. AGC Equity Partners and PineBridge Investments’ fund of funds arm also committed to the fund but sold their stakes to Strategic Partners and Willowridge Partners respectively, at the end of last year, according to UK regulatory notices.

LPs that committed to the Top-up fund include Allianz and London-based Henderson Equity Partners, according to PEI data.

In 2000 Fund VII invested in US car parts company Mark IV Industries, but reportedly lost more than $300 million when it sold the company to Sun Capital Partners for $70 million cash in 2008. The initial investment was the largest LBO of a US company by a European firm at the time.

BC also deployed Fund VII for its $1.9 billion investment in UK private hospital group General Healthcare Group in 2000, which it sold for $2.35 billion to Netcare of South Africa in 2006, according to BC’s website. The sale was believed to be the largest deal in European healthcare services sector at the time.

As of 30 June 2013, Fund VII was generating a net internal rate of return of 23.95 percent, according to documents from CalSTRS. BC declined to comment on the fund’s current state.

The Blackstone Group’s Strategic Partners acquired the stakes using its Strategic Partners Fund VI which has collected $3.2 billion toward its $3.5 billion target, according to Blackstone’s public earnings report last week. The fund has a $4 billion hard-cap and is expected to close by the end of August. Blackstone did not return a request for comment.

Wisconsin has been on a private equity selling spree this month. Last week the pension sold its stake in UK-based Charterhouse Capital Partners’ CCP Fund IX to Adams Street Partners and the week prior it sold its position in 3i Eurofund III to Strategic Partners.

In June Wisconsin revealed plans to sell a private equity legacy portfolio that was valued at about $203 million as of 31 December. The portfolio included 48 funds, although Wisconsin planned to retain 14 funds that are managed by Brinson Partners. It is unclear if the pension’s latest secondary sales are a part of the portfolio.