Generali Said to Seek Sale of Private Equity Funds

Assicurazioni Generali SpA, Italy’s biggest insurer, is seeking to sell a portfolio of private-equity fund stakes valued at almost 500 million euros ($648.3 million), according to three people familiar with the matter.

Generali, based in Trieste, Italy, is talking to buyers itself rather than using an agent, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the process is private. Generali’s portfolio is mostly made up of stakes funds that invest in leveraged buyouts, according to the people.

Insurance companies and financial institutions have been selling stakes in private-equity funds on the secondary market as new regulations make it more costly to hold illiquid assets. Generali sold about $400 million in private-equity fund stakes in June to New York-based firm Lexington Partners Inc., said a person familiar with the matter.

A Generali spokesman declined to comment.

Financial institutions including insurance companies made up 24 percent of sellers in the secondary market last year and 29 percent of the transaction value, according to a report by Cogent Partners, an advisory firm based in New York. In March, French insurer AXA SA agreed to sell its private-equity unit AXA Private Equity to senior management, AXA Group and outside investors. French insurer Groupama SA agreed to sell Groupama Private Equity to ACG Group in January as part of an effort to get rid of assets that are not central to its business.

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