CalPERS Commits $425M to PE

The California State Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) continued its commitment to the private equity class last week with a series of commitments worth as much as $425 million. The $183 billion pension system made up to $410 in commitments to five private equity funds. In a separate announcement, CalPERS advanced its Environmental Investment Program with a $15 million commitment to a clean technology venture fund.

CalPERS made the following commitments:

The pension system agreed to commit up to $70 million for Audax Private Equity Fund II, managed by Boston-based The Audax Group. The buyout fund will target U.S.-based companies with annual sales between $25 million and $350 million. The fund has goal of $700 million.

CalPERS pledged to increase its commitment to Aurora Capital Partners Aurora Equity Partners III to up to $125 million. The fund has closed on about $430 million for the fund, which is targeted at $900 million. Aurora plans to invest the fund in middle market buyout deals in companies with enterprise values between $150 million and $1 billion. Aurora Capital Partners is based in Westwood, Calif.

The system committed up to $50 million to Lexington Middle Market Investors, managed by New York-based secondary firm Lexington Partners. The fund has a goal of $500 million and received a $150 million cornerstone commitment from the New York State Teachers Retirement System. The firm will acquire limited partner stakes in younger funds that have invested less than 50% of their committed capital.

CalPERS committed $100 million to Quadrangle Capital Partners II, managed by New York-based Quadrangle Group. The fund has a goal of $1.6 billion. It held a first close in February with $850 million and plans to have a final close by the end of Q2 2005. The fund will invest in mature and high-growth media companies in the United States and Europe. Monument Group and UBS Financial Services are advising Quadrangle.

CalPERS pledged $65 million to Weston Presidio V, a $1 billion buyout fund managed by Boston-based Weston Presidio. The fund closed in April and will make late-stage growth investments and middlemarket buyout investments ranging between $10 million and $100 million.

Separately, CalPERS announced the first investment from its Environmental Technology Program, when it committed up to $15 million to NGEN Partners. NGEN Partners is a Santa Barbara, Calif.-based venture fund that specializes in investing in clean technology companies. CalPERS announced last year that it was launching the $200 million Environmental Technology Program to invest in environmental technology such as renewable energy resources and the recycling of water and other materials.