BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest asset-management firm, has raised more than $630 million for its third direct co-investment buyout fund which will also invest in emerging Asian markets.
Investors include public and private pension funds, insurance companies and foundations in North America and Europe, the company said in a statement.
Investors are increasingly backing alternative investments, and that helped the firm’s private equity unit hit final close on its target.
BlackRock is one of the world’s largest alternative investment managers, with $114 billion under management. Since 1999, its private equity business — Private Equity Partners (PEP) group — has invested in funds, secondaries and made direct co-investments around the world.
The new fund — BlackRock Private Opportunities Fund III — will focus on buyouts across multiple geographies and industry sectors. It will invest in several areas, including energy and special situations, consolidation and corporate carve-outs, state-owned enterprises and privatizations, and growth opportunities in Asia and other emerging markets.
“Today’s challenging market environment requires a more nuanced and thoughtful approach. That’s why we’re looking to back strong management teams in all-weather businesses that can benefit from some sort of corporate change event but require support in transition, integration and operations to realize the full potential,” said Russell Steenberg, Managing Director and Global Head of BlackRock Private Equity Partners.
BlackRock, like many of its peers, has taken steps to reorganize its private equity portfolio. Last November the company began a process to sell stakes in funds raised between 2000 and 2006 worth about $200 million.
Under chief executive officer Laurence D. Fink, PEP’s parent BlackRock has been transformed from a bond shop to a $4.6 trillion global money manager. Much of that growth has been fueled by acquisitions, including the purchase of Barclays Plc’s investment unit in 2009.
In April, the firm announced plans to cut about 400 of its employees — about 3 per cent of its staff — in what may be its largest round of cuts ever, and marks a slowdown after years of rapid growth in the past decade. It also took a $76 million restructuring charge after posting a 20 percent drop in first-quarter profit.