CalPERS OKs $950M

The United States’ largest state pension system ended the year committing about $1 billion to private equity. The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) OK’d $956.5 million to the following funds:

* CalPERS committed $400 million to The Blackstone Group’s Blackstone Capital Partners V. The fund, which closed on $12.5 billion in October, will focus on large cap buyout transactions in the United States and Europe. The firm closed Blackstone Partners IV in 2003 with about $6.5 billion.

* The pension system approved a $179 million commitment to London-based Candover Investments of about $179 million for The Candover 2005 Fund. The fund has a target of $3.6 billion and will make equity investments of between $60 million and $600 million on buyouts of middle-market public and private companies.

* CalPERS committed $175 million to Welsh Carson Anderson & Stowe’s new fund, Welsh Carson Anderson & Stowe X. The firm has a $3.5 billion target for the fund, which will make controlling buyouts of business services, communication, health care and IT companies.

* CalPERS made a commitment of $150 million to Avenue Special Situations Fund IV, managed by Avenue Capital Partners. The New York-based firm held a first close on the fund last month with $702 million and expects to have a final close before the end of the year with $1.7 billion. The fund will invest in debt securities and other distressed European and U.S.-based middle market companies.

* The fund committed $52.5 million to Rosewood Capital’s fifth venture fund, Rosewood Capital V. The San Francisco-based firm will use the fund to make non-controlling investments of between $25 million and $150 million in specialty-retail and consumer companies. Rosewood is seeking up to $350 million for the vehicle.

In addition to fund investments, CalPERS announced that its total assets had topped the $200 million mark for the first time.