North America: TIAA-CREF execs near infra fund launch

10 September 2018 - 12:00 am UTC

Former executives of TIAA-CREF’s infrastructure investment team are poised to launch their own infrastructure fund Upper Bay Infrastructure Partners (UBIP) in the fourth quarter or early next year, Inframation has learned.

The mid-market fund has a target between USD 1.25bn and USD 1.5bn. It will be led by Marietta Moshiashvili, former managing director and group head of infrastructure at Nuveen Investments, TIAA-CREF’s asset management arm, and Mario Maselli, the group’s former managing director and deputy head of infrastructure.

The 12-year fund has a planned cap of USD 2bn and would target monopolistic assets in the power, transportation, midstream and telecom sectors with high barriers to entry, primarily in the US and Canada. Each investment is to be sized at roughly USD 200m and the fund would also be open to co-investment opportunities through separately managed accounts, it is understood.

The fund is expected to launch with up to three seeded assets and each of these transactions are to close before year-end.

TIAA-CREF and Upper Bay Infrastructure Partners could not immediately be reached for comment.

During Moshiashvili and Maselli’s tenure, Nuveen’s infrastructure platform made investments in the I-595 toll road, the NRG YieldCo, Vantage Data Centers, ACS JV, Capistrano, InfraREIT, InterPark, Thames Water and others, according to Inframation Deals. The two executives left the pension fund earlier this year.

Competition
The new fund enters a crowded fundraising market. As reported, additional mid-market funds due to launch later this year include Antin Infrastructure Partners IV, which has a EUR 4bn – 5bn (USD 4.6bn – 5.8bn) target, and Morgan Stanley’s North Haven Infrastructure Partners III, with a USD 4bn target.

Mega-funds such as Global Infrastructure Partners’ fourth fund and Brookfield Infrastructure Fund IV are each expected to start fundraising for USD 18bn – 20bn in that timeframe.

Additionally, some upper middle market funds reached close recently, including I Squared Capital’s ISQ Global Infrastructure Fund II (USD 7bn), Stonepeak Infrastructure Fund III (USD 7bn) and KKR Global Infrastructure Investors III (USD 7.4bn).

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