HarbourVest May Be Last Party Interested in Buying CalPERS’ Stake in Under-Performing Healthcare Fund

doctor's utensils

CalPERS announced this summer it was looking to exit the Health Evolution Partners (HEP) Growth Fund, a private equity fund specializing in healthcare companies.

HEP is run by David Brailer, a world-renowned physician who had no previous private equity experience before starting the firm.

The fund promised returns of 20 percent. But its IRR as of March 31 was just 2 percent.

According to Reuters PE Hub, HarbourVest Partners is interested in buying CalPERS’ stake in the fund. From Reuters PE Hub:

HarbourVest Partners appears to be the last bidder interested in buying CalPERS’ stake in a healthcare fund run by a former Bush Administration official, according to two sources.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System since summer has been trying to sell its stake in a growth fund managed by Health Evolution Partners (HEP). Evercore Partners is running the sales process, sources said.

Landmark Partners was also a bidder until recently, a secondary market professional said.

CalPERS is the sole limited partner in the fund and committed $505 million at its inception in 2008. So far, the GP has drawn down just over $430 million, as of March 31, according to CalPERS.

The fund’s performance has not been stellar. It produced an internal rate of return of 2 percent and a 1x multiple as of March 31, according to CalPERS.

One secondary market professional said bad blood between CalPERs and HEP likely drove away some potential buyers.

Real Desrochers, senior investment officer for CalPERS’ Private Equity Program, recommended the retirement system get out of the investment because he didn’t believe HEP would achieve its goal of a 20 percent IRR, Pensions & Investments reported in August. CalPERS investment staff earlier this year refused to allow HEP to use already-committed capital and told the firm to find a new partner or face liquidation, P&I reported.


Besides the growth fund, CalPERS committed $200 million to an HEP fund-of-funds in 2007. The sales process has not included the FoF, which had produced a negative 3 percent IRR and a 0.9x multiple as of March 31.

Read more coverage of the HEP Growth Fund here.


Photo by Hobvias Sudoneighm