Adams Street Thinks Time Is Right For Global Secondaries

Adams Street Partners is hitting the fundraising circuit with its latest secondary fund, aiming to roughly triple the size of its predecessor.

The fundraising goal for Adams Street Partners Global Opportunities Secondary Fund II is $600 million, far bigger than its $210 million predecessor formed in 2004.

The Chicago-based firm, one of several fund-of-funds managers that also does a healthy business in secondaries, is entering the fray at a time when many institutional investors are seeking to unload shares in private equity vehicles to gain liquidity, and discounts of 50 percent or more to net asset value are common.

Adams Street Partners intends to use the fund to acquire interests in limited partnerships operating anywhere in the world in the venture capital, buyout, mezzanine, restructuring, distressed debt and special situations subclasses.

Among backers, the Chicago Firemen’s Annuity and Benefit Fund recently pledged $7.5 million, while the Illinois State Universities Retirement System committed $25 million to the predecessor fund in June 2003. According to Illinois State Universities Retirement System board documents, returns through Dec. 31, 2007 for that fund stood at 24.9 percent.

Adams Street Partners has nine investment professionals dedicated to secondaries in Chicago and London. In August, UBS Global Asset Management sold back to the firm its remaining 24.9 percent ownership interest for $156 million. Adams Street Partners was formed in 2001 via a management buyout.