Nordic Secondary Firm Closes 5th Fund

Illustrating the extensive reach and increasingly international appeal of the frothy secondary market, Four Seasons Management closed on its fifth fund, Four Seasons Venture V, with $125 million in commitments.

The Oslo, Norway-based firm, which specializes in direct secondary deals, held its final close Oct. 31. The firm says the fund is Europe’s first fund focused on secondary direct transactions.

The firm had initially set out to raise between $75 million and $100 million.

The fund’s first closing in June came alongside a deal for a Skandia Liv portfolio that included 20 companies and management rights. The Skandia Liv purchase was made via a consortium with the 3i Group.

Four Seasons Managing Partner Lars Thoreson and co-founding Partner Knut Frigaard will manage fund V with staff in the firm’s Oslo headquarters and new Stockholm office.

Thoresen says that the fund marks the firm’s first significant interest from U.S. investors. Indeed, fund V attracted Landmark Partners, the Simsbury, Conn.-based veteran secondary firm that is the largest single investor in the fund.

Landmark is one of four large LPs that invested between $12.5 million and $25 million in fund V. The other three large LPs are Swedish public pension group Third AP Fund, Norwegian fund-of-funds firm Argentum and French private equity group Natexis Private Equity Opportunities.

Landmark and Natexis underwrote June’s Skandia Liv deal and Landmark expects to be a co-investor in future Four Seasons deals, according to Landmark partner James McConnell. Landmark has previously done deals with Natexis and London-based Vision Capital.

McConnell says that the firm’s interest in European secondary deals has increased over the last few years and emphasizes the importance of partnering with groups like Four Seasons, Natexis and Vision that are European and experienced with European deals.

The rest of Four Seasons’ LPs are a mix of Norwegian and international pension funds, corporate groups, insurance companies and family offices. The fund’s LPs are about half Norwegian and half international, according to Thoresen.

Other LPs in the fund include Bonheur, Ganger Rolv, Gjensidige Forsikring, Hafslund pension fund, KLP, SIF, Storebrand, Sundt AS, Vital Forsikring, Veritas pension fund and the WilhelmWilhemsen Family.