BlackRock to buy SwissRe private equity investment business

BlackRock is to buy the European private equity and infrastructure fund of funds franchise of Swiss Re, and entered into a strategic relationship regarding alternative investments with the insurance giant.

The deal of unnamed size, for cash, is expected to close by the end of September, and will extend BlackRock’s presence in Switzerland.

Martin Gut, managing director and BlackRock’s country head of Switzerland, said: “This transaction marks BlackRock’s continued investment in its Swiss franchise. Our larger presence in the country will facilitate our ability to better serve our local clients.”

The strategic alliance between the two firms revolves around Swiss Re’s current, and future commitments to products on BlackRock’s Alternative Investors platform, based partly in Zurich.

SwissRe was described as having a “significant commitment” already in the platform’s products.

SwissRe’s own, $7.5bn private equity and infrastructure investment platform will be integrated with the fund of private equity funds group at BlackRock, and will extend this group’s investments into infrastructure while also extending its presence for the first time to Switzerland.

The result of the union of platforms will be a $15bn source of investment in primary funds, secondaries and direct co-investment opportunities through a core fund of funds and direct co-investments.

“In an environment where yields are low and volatility is high, clients around the world are embracing alternatives which offer higher return potential and the ability to mitigate risk,” said Matthew Botein, managing director and head of BlackRock Alternative Investors.

Russell Steenberg, managing director and head of BlackRock’s private equity platform will lead the combined unit.

Christian Hinze, CEO of the European private equity and infrastructure fund of funds franchise of Swiss Re, will join BlackRock as deputy head of the combined business.

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