LP corner, week of June 28, 2010

Alaska Retirement keeps busy with pledges

The $14.3 billion Alaska Retirement Management Board committed more than $85 million to eight private equity funds in the first five months of the year, despite being beyond its target allocation to the asset class.

The pledges divided about evenly between buyout and venture capital funds, with some distressed debt thrown into the mix, as well.

A slug of $4.5 million went to media-focused buyout shop ABRY Partners for ABRY Senior Equity Investors III, which closed in April with $750 million. The fund provides mezzanine debt to back the Boston-based firm’s buyout transactions and to provide growth capital to mid-market media companies.

Hellman & Friedman received $15 million from Alaska Retirement for Hellman & Friedman Capital Partners VII, which closed with $8.8 billion for control-oriented buyouts.

Spectrum Equity Investors’ slug of $15 million goes to Spectrum Equity Investors VI, which is earmarked for investments in mid-market companies. The vehicle has a target of $1.25 billion.

TA Associates was favored with $15 million for TA XI, which closed with $4 billion and will be used for investments in the technology, financial services, business services, health care and consumer sectors.

The limited partner also pledged $2.7 million to Battery Ventures’ Battery Ventures IX, which closed in March with $750 million. Venture firm Oak Investment Partners got a slug of $15 million for Oak Investment Partners XIII, which has a target of $1.5 billion.

And Trident Capital got $13.3 million for Trident Capital VII for security and enterprise software investments. The firm is seeking $400 million for the vehicle.

Oaktree Capital Management, meanwhile, received $5 million for OCM Opportunities VIIb, which closed with $10.6 billion and invests in distressed debt.

Alaska’s actual allocation to private equity stood at 8.76% as of April 30; the target allocation is 7%, with a range of 2% to 12 percent. —Nancy Gordon

Connecticut has $300M to back funds

The Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds could pledge anywhere from zero to $300 million through the balance of its fiscal year, according to a spokesperson.

So far during fiscal year 2010, which ends June 30, the limited partner has committed $175 million to two funds: $75 million to Audax Mezzanine III, Audax Group’s $750 million-targeted subordinated debt fund that launched in December, and $100 million to Landmark Partners’ Landmark Equity Partners XIV, a secondary fund that recently closed with $1.9 billion.

The LP’s asset allocation plan includes a target for private equity of 11%, with the current allocation standing at about 7.8 percent.

Meanwhile, the position of principal investment officer of private equity in Connecticut remains unoccupied since Jason Price resigned in March 2009.

In other New England LP news, the Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island could pledge $50 million to $80 million over the next year to private equity, depending on market conditions, said Mark Dingley, chief of staff.

The LP intends to avoid large corporate buyouts and will likely focus on special situations. The $7 billion plan sponsor is a bit beyond its target to the asset class of 7.5%, with the actual allocation now standing at 8.5 percent. —Nancy Gordon