Pantheon Wins GBP200 Million Unilever Mandate

Specialist private equity fund-of-funds investor Pantheon Ventures recently won a mandate from Unilever’s pension fund to handle GBP200 million of venture capital investments. The GBP4 billion pension fund, which previously handled its private equity investments in-house, has decided to increase its exposure to private equity to 3% from 5% of its total assets. Pantheon has taken on management of the existing portfolio. Over a period of years, Pantheon will invest one third of Unilever’s allocation in its own funds-of-funds and will deploy the balance across a variety of external private equity funds corresponding with certain geographical and size constraints stipulated by Unilever.

Pantheon joint managing director Richard Bowley said Pantheon took over the Unilever allocation “some months” prior to the March announcement.

Pantheon, whose other major institutional clients include Equitable Life, Strathclyde Pension Fund, IBM Pension Funds, Cadbury Schweppes Pension Fund, British Airways, British Aerospace and Stanford University, currently manages or advises funds totalling some $1.7 billion (ecu 1.55 billion). Its most recent vehicle, a European fund-of-funds, closed on ecu 214 million this March, and its second Asian fund-of-funds was approaching a final close at press time (story, page 18).