Wisconsin Investment Board Funnels $291M to Private Equity

The State of Wisconsin Investment Board, which manages $83 billion in pension funds, is making a slew of private equity commitments worth $291 million in the fourth quarter, according to documents made available after its Feb. 8 board meeting to Buyouts, peHUB’s sister magazine.

Overall, Wisconsin oversees $13.6 billion in private equity commitments, including $5.5 billion in invested capital. The state has a private equity target of 6 percent, but plans to raise that to 7 percent by 2015, according to recent documents.

The five commitments include a $100 million pledge to TPG Capital’s TPG Opportunities Partners II LP, a distressed debt vehicle with a $1.5 billion target. The fund focuses primarily on non-performing loans, distressed-for-control and special situations. Other investors in the fund include the New Jersey Division of Investment, the Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System and the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System, each of which have committed $100 million to the fund.

Wisconsin also committed $100 million to GSO Capital’s GSO Capital Opportunities Fund II LP, a mezzanine debt fund with a $3 billion target, sponsored by the leveraged finance arm of the The Blackstone Group. Other investors include the Florida State Board of Administration and the New Jersey Division of Investment, which each committed $150 million, and the Massachusetts Pension Reserves Asset Management Board, which committed $100 million. The original GSO Capital Opportunities Fund LP, a 2006 vintage fund, has performed reasonably well, generating a 16 percent IRR, according to a March 31, 2011, performance report from the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, one of the fund’s investors.

A third Wisconsin commitment was a $50 million pledge to TSG Consumer Partners’ TSG Consumer Partners VI Fund LP, a mid-market buyout fund with a $1.3 billion target. The consumer products buyout firm, which has invested in popular consumer firms like PopChips, closed late last year after just two months of fundraising. Other investors in the fund include the Virginia Retirement System, which committed $50 million, and the Indiana Public Retirement System, which committed $30 million.

Wisconsin committed $30 million to Emergence Capital Partners’ Emergence Capital Partners III LP, a venture fund. The firm has invested in such notable companies as Salesforce and Doubleclick. Finally, Wisconsin made a $11 million commitment to Energy Capital Investments’ EnCap VIII Co-Investment Fund LP. The co-investment commitment follows a $45 million pledge by Wisconsin to the main fund, EnCap Energy Capital Fund VIII LP.