Calpers Unloads Record $6 Billion of Private-Equity Stakes at Discount

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System sold about $6 billion of its stakes in private equity funds to second-hand buyers, severing ties with a slew of past managers and freeing up cash for new wagers.

The $440 billion public pension fund, the largest in the US, has cycled through four investment chiefs since 2009 and has long wrestled with the complexity of its $50 billion in private equity holdings. Calpers hired Jefferies Financial Group Inc. to explore ways to clean up its portfolio and shop a swath of assets, according to people familiar with the matter.

Lexington Partners, an investment business of Franklin Resources Inc., and CVC Capital Partners’ Glendower Capital snapped up pieces in separate sales that wrapped up over the past two weeks, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private transactions. The deal is not only the largest of its kind by Calpers, but private equity executives said it’s probably the biggest-ever involving second-hand fund stakes changing hands.