Washington State Commits to Two PE Funds

The Washington State Investment Board this month preliminarily agreed to commit to two private equity funds that will make investments mainly in Europe. Fund managers at Apax Partners & Co. and HarbourVest Partners LLC met with and managed to woo the private market committee, which is a subset of the investment board, to the amount of $105 million and $100 million for Apax Partners V, a $3.5 billion fund, and HarbourVest International Partners IV, a $3.1 billion fund respectively.

?The decision is not final until the full board passes a final resolution on Dec. 21,? said Tom Ruggles, a senior investment officer at the investment board. Apax Partners V reportedly plans to make venture capital and buyouts investments of less than $87 million in the computer-related, telecommunications, media, financial services, health care, and specialty retailing industries.

HarbourVest Partners reportedly intends to invest in new private equity funds as well as purchase existing partnerships from other investors. The firm plans to put 50 percent to 75 percent of the $3.1 billion in Europe, with the rest going to the merging markets of Asia, Latin America and Israel.

Partners at HarbourVest could not be reached for comments before press time.

The Washington State Investment Board, with 17% of its alternative asset allocation to non-U.S. funds, primarily in Europe, has been a past investor in sector focused funds and emerging markets fund-of-funds like the $2.1 billion HarbourVest International Private Equity Partners III LP, an international fund-of-funds raised by HarbourVest Partners in 1998 with a small portion of the fund allocated toward emerging markets such as Cuba, Estonia and Jamaica (Buyouts May 18, 1998, p. 6).