Partners buys in New Zealand Super sale – Exclusive

The Zug, Switzerland-based private markets investment firm Partners Group has picked up five real estate fund positions from the New Zealand investor, which is looking to exit from the asset class.

Zug, Switzerland-based private markets investment firm Partners Group has purchased a portfolio of real estate fund positions from New Zealand Superannuation Fund at a meaningful discount to par, PERE can reveal.

Partners declined to comment and New Zealand Super was unavailable for comment when approached. However, PERE learned that the investment firm has acquired five fund positions from the New Zealand investor, which intends to exit the real estate space.

These are thought to include stakes in two Asian funds: Hong Kong-based private equity real estate firm Gaw Capital Partners’ third fund, Gaw Capital Gateway Real Estate Fund III, and Red Fort India Real Estate Fund II, an India-focused opportunity fund managed by Singapore and Delhi-based firm Rising Straits Capital. The other three stakes were thought to be from Europe-focused funds: Orion Capital's Orion European Real Estate Fund III, Clearbell Capital's Mountgrange Real Estate Opportunity Fund and MoREOF (Parallel I) Unit Trust.

While the value of the New Zealand Super real estate portfolio was understood to be around $500 million, it is also understood that Partners paid a meaningful discount to par for the five fund positions it bought.

Partners is understood to have purchased the positions for its $1.9 billion Partners Group Real Estate Secondary 2013 fund, the biggest real estate fund dedicated to secondaries ever raised, and certain of its separate accounts.
PERE revealed in December that New Zealand Super was looking to sell between 12 and 15 fund interests, representing $500 million of equity commitments. The sale process was being run by advisory firm Greenhill Cogent.

Among the other prospective buyers for the stakes in the portfolio were Connecticut-based Landmark Partners and New York’s Metropolitan Real Estate.

The sale comes amid something of a portfolio rationalization for New Zealand Super, which manages nearly $30 billion of assets.

Last month, it sold positions from three private equity funds: Hellman & Freidman VII, JMI Equity Fund VII and H.I.G Bayside Loan Opportunities Fund II, in a bid to have fewer manager relationships.

According to certain people familiar with the situation, NZ Super is also understood to be keen to reduce the number of managers it works with, as part of that, its real estate positions are being offered for sale. Fund performance is not thought to be the driving factor behind the real estate offload. Indeed, a number of the funds on its books have been performing in line with expectations.