Survey: Price Gulf Stalls Secondary Deals

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Investors in private equity funds are prepared to wait a year or two to sell their interests because of a gulf in price, a survey said on Wednesday.

London-based private equity research firm Preqin said 11 percent of the 568 institutional investors in private equity it surveyed want to sell fund interests on the so-called “secondary market” — which allows investors to sell stakes in funds.

But the survey said that, of those, only 10 percent are looking to sell immediately, while 43 percent want to sell in the next 12 months and 47 percent within 12 to 24 months.

Investors, such as endowment and pension funds, typically commit to invest for the life of a private equity fund. But the sharp falls in equity markets has hit overall portfolios and meant some are over-exposed to other asset classes such as private equity and are looking to sell.

Preqin said potential sellers are being put off by a gulf between asking prices and net asset values and, as a result, many potential buyers and sellers are staying away.

“Only those with an extremely distressed portfolio will be willing to exit investments at today’s prices,” it said.

Preqin said because there is a lack of clear information on pricing secondary deals, it is launching a service called Secondary Market Monitor, which will give investors a free indicative valuation on their private equity portfolios.

The investors do not have to disclose their identity to get the valuation, Preqin added.

By Megan Davies
(Editing by Andre Grenon)