Saturday, December 06, 2008

PE Liquidations among Endowments

I'm wondering if any non-Ivy schools are taking advantage of this opportunity to acquire stakes in private equity funds on the secondary market. This isn't the first that we've heard of this story, and it likely won't be the last. However, if any endowments were sitting on some liquidity, this is sounds like a decent entry point with some well respected PE names.

*cough* Howard U.? *cough*

Of course, what is more likely is that these non-Ivy or non-first tier endowments are probably trying to liquidate their portfolios too. So sad.

These first tier endowments are getting hit by MTM accounting rules too? If smaller endowments can't get at least 50% off, then something is terribly wrong! At 50% or greater discounts, some of the LBOs of the last few years sound fairly reasonable. But its going to take even greater discounting to squeeze $120B in assets into $40B of investable capital.

When I originally started writing this post, Harvard had not yet reported their latest results. Down 22% ( sub req'd) since the start of the fiscal year. Wow!

I contend that there is plenty of alpha out there to be gained, but it will take creativity, negotiation skills, and iron will to earn it. The days of easy alpha (more accurately, alternative beta) are over for the near future. Is this one way some of the second tier endowments can catapult their results into the stratosphere? Hell if I know! But I can fell the abundance of opportunity, and it gets more pronounced with every leg down. The question is who will take advantage of it?

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