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Wisconsin Is Said to Offer $700 Million in Buyout Stakes

State of Wisconsin Investment Board, manager of the ninth-largest public pension plan in the U.S., is seeking to sell about $700 million in private-equity fund stakes, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

The holdings are mostly from U.S. and European buyout funds. Some of the positions are in funds run by Blackstone Group LP, Carlyle Group LP, KKR & Co. and London-based Charterhouse Capital Partners LLP, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

Cogent Partners, an advisory firm based in New York, is managing the sale, according to the people familiar. Vicki Hearing, a spokeswoman for the Wisconsin investment board, declined to comment, as did Bill Murphy, a managing director at Cogent Partners.

U.S. pension plans are tapping the secondary market, where investors sell their stakes in buyout funds, as they rebalance their holdings. California Public Employees’ Retirement System and New York City’s police, fire and civil-employee pension plans are selling private-equity stakes to reduce the number of managers they use and concentrate their investments with the best performers.

Wisconsin’s investment board invests on behalf of the Wisconsin Retirement System, which provides benefits to more than 572,000 current and former employees of state agencies, the university system, school districts and most local governments. Private equity and private debt made up 8.2 percent of the $76.5 billion Core Trust Fund as of April 30, above the system’s 7 percent policy target.

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