Illinois Teachers commits $200m to Blackstone

The $37.7 billion pension system has approved an allocation to the New York-based private equity giant’s latest global real estate fund, which is expected to reach $6 billion in commitments by year’s end.

The Teachers’ Retirement System of the State of Illinois has agreed to make a $200 million commitment to Blackstone Real Estate Partners (BREP) VII, The Blackstone Group’s current global real estate fund, which is targeting a capital raise of at least $10 billion. Through BREP VII, which will focus primarily on real estate opportunities in the US and Canada, the pension fund seeks to make “potential investments in distressed or undermanaged properties worldwide,” according to a statement.

The New York-based private equity giant currently manages $53.8 million in assets on behalf of Illinois Teachers through a number of funds, including its previous real estate opportunity fund, BREP VI, to which the pension plan approved a $50 million commitment in May 2007.

Illinois Teachers’ new allocation, which was approved at the system’s regular board meeting this week, follows a series of US public pension fund allocations to BREP VII this year. Last month, the State of Wisconsin Investment Board made a $150 million commitment to the fund, and the New Jersey Division of Investment and Pennsylvania’s Public School Employees’ Retirement System both agreed to each invest $300 million to BREP VII over the summer.

PERE understands that the mega-fund, which held a $4 billion first close in August, is expected to raise a total of $6 billion by year’s end and top $8 billion by February.