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WSIB commits €175m to PAI Partners Europe fund

Paris-based PAI is targeting €7bn for its eighth vehicle, which counts food and consumer among its four principle areas of investment.

The Washington State Investment Board has made a €175 million commitment to PAI Partners Europe VIII vehicle.

The 2022-vintage has a €7 billion target and will make investments across the French firm’s core areas of business services, food and consumer, healthcare and general industries.

PAI Partners closed one of the largest M&A transactions in the global food industry in 2021 when it acquired multiple drinks business – including Tropicana and Naked – from PepsiCo in a $3.3 billion deal.

The brands will form part of a new joint venture between PepsiCo and PAI Partners, which also takes ownership of other brands from the PepsiCo portfolio, such as Copella, Dole, KeVita and Punica.

PAI Partners took a controlling 61 percent stake in the JV, with PepsiCo owning the remaining 39 percent interest. PAI also secured “an irrevocable option” to buy undisclosed PepsiCo European beverage businesses as part of the deal.

Capital for the PepsiCo deal was drawn from PAI’s Europe VIII vehicle, which closed on €5 billion in 2018. The predecessor vehicle is also invested in Euro Ethnic Foods, The Compleat Food Group (formerly known as Addo Food Group & Winterbotham Darby) and Ecotone.

PAI is also invested in other food brands such as Spanish food retailer Uvesco, refrigerated fish and seafood provider Angulas Aguinaga and UK-based ice cream company Froneri, through its mid-market fund and its strategic partnerships vehicle.

Other LPs that have supported PAI latest €7 billion include Orange County Employees Retirement System, Cathay Life Insurance and the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.

PAI Partners has €22.4 billion of assets under management, according to the firm’s website.