- Illinois Municipal re-ups with ABRY as an existing LP
- Commitment matches its largest pledge to ABRY
- Shifts ag pledge to Hancock Natural Resources Group
The commitment from the $34 billion pension system signals that ABRY Partners is back in the fundraising trail for its newest flagship fund, after its predecessor, the 2011 vintage ABRY Partners VII LP, raised $1.6 billion. ABRY Partners did not respond to a request for comment from Buyouts.
The Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) already has invested with other ABRY Partners funds. It committed $35 million to the 2011 vintage ABRY Advanced Securities II, which closed on $1.2 billion.
The pension system also pledged $20 million to ABRY Senior Equity IV, a 2012 mezzanine stage private equity fund. IMRF also counts $22 million committed to various ABRY funds through separate account managers, according to John Krupa, a spokesman for the pension system.
Founded in 1989, ABRY Partners bills itself as a specialist solely in media, communications and business and information service investments. All told, ABRY Partners has completed more than $42 billion of leveraged transactions and other private equity investments involving more than 450 properties.
Separately, IMRF committed $100 million to Hancock Natural Resources Group (HNRG) for its agriculture portfolio.The pension system terminated its existing $145 million agriculture account with Cozad/Westchester.
”IMRF values HNRG’s fully integrated approach to permanent crop management, its experience managing different crop types, and its long track record relative to peer organizations,” the pension system said. IMRG switched agriculture managers not because of performance, but rather a change in ownership, Krupa said.
”In 2010, Westchester was acquired by TIAA-CREF, which has first rights to all new acquisitions,” Krupa said in an email to Buyouts. ”IMRF felt this would make it difficult to grow the mandate into the future.”
The commitments to ABRY Partners and to HNRG took place at the pension system’s June 19 meeting.