Ohio To Release P.E. Portfolio

Dec 22 2005 | 7:14pm ET

The $15.5 billion Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation ruffled feathers in the private equity world this week by revealing that it is going to make public the value of its private investment portfolio on Jan. 6. According to Emily Hicks, a spokeswoman for the bureau, the move to release the figures, which are contained in a report, follows media requests for the report.

The fund allocates 5% of its portfolio to private equity. A partner at one of the private equity firms with which the Ohio bureau invests refused to comment directly on the matter, but said that when a private equity firm enters into an agreement with an investor, that investor "knows that some information is not meant for public consumption."

Earlier this year, the Ohio bureau hired Ennis Knupp + Assocates to perform evaluations of its investments. "Many reporters have outstanding requests for any Ennis Knupp reports that are coming out," Hicks said. She added that the Ohio bureau has notified the private equity firms it deals with of the requests, and explained that because it is a public entity it needs to honor them.

"We sent out a letter asking the private equity firms to let us know if there were portions of this report that they would not like released," she said, adding that the bureau's legal department also sent a letter to the firms asking if there were any portions of the report that they felt contained trade secrets. "We have had responses…enerally, the majority of them objecting to the valuation portion of the portfolio, meaning the section that lists the specific assets and their numerical value," said Hicks.

The bureau is taking their concerns into consideration and will consult with the Ohio attorney general's office to make a final determination about what will be released, said Hicks.

Some of the private equity firms that manage Ohio's assets include ABRY Partners, Athenian Venture Partners, The Carlyle Group, Castle Harlan, Draper Triangle Ventures, Fort Washington Capital Partners and Fremont Partners.

A spokeswoman at Carlyle declined to comment on the issue, as did Athenian Venture Partners, and no one at Castle Harlan was available for comment. Calls to other firms were not returned by press time.

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