Wisconsin To Spend Over $1B On PE

The $66 billion State of Wisconsin Investment Board intends to pledge $1.3 billion to private equity funds in 2009 and will concentrate on buyout, distressed, mezzanine, credit and secondary strategies.

Private equity commitments made so far in 2009 include $75 million to American Securities Partners V LP; $50 million to Blackstone Capital Partners VI LP; and $150 million to Hellman and Friedman Capital Partners VII LP, according to pension spokesperson Vicki Hearing.

American Securities closed its fifth fund with $2.3 billion. The New York-based middle-market buyout firm invests on behalf of wealthy individuals, including the family of Sears Roebuck & Co. heir William Rosenwald, as well as endowments and institutional investors. The Blackstone Group’s newest buyout fund, Blackstone Capital Partners VI, held an interim close in February 2009 with $8 billion, and is aiming for a total of $10 billion. Hellman & Friedman invests in financial services, media, software, business services, healthcare, energy and industrial companies and has a goal of $10 billion its newest fund.

Private equity currently represents about 7 percent of Wisconsin’s portfolio. In December, the private equity/debt target allocation at the state was increased to 6 percent from 5 percent with a range of 3 percent to 9 percent. Commitment sizes usually range from $50 million to $250 million. The private equity/debt classification includes leveraged buyouts and venture capital; direct, long-term loans to Wisconsin companies; and private market investments.