By Dan Primack
December 2, 2010

New York Life Insurance Co. has acquired a majority stake in Private Advisors, a Richmond, Va.-based firm with more than $3.5 billion in assets under management.

The deal does not yet seem to have been publicly announced, but Fortune has obtained a letter sent earlier by Private Advisors to its clients. It reads, in part:

We believe that our platform, including our range of investment capabilities, our well-resourced and experienced investment teams, and our robust infrastructure is compelling relative to many alternative investment management firms. New York Life Investments’ interest in Private Advisors is a testament to the strength of our investment capabilities, our professionals and our high-quality investor base. Furthermore,we believe that our decision to enter this alliance clearly demonstrates our commitment to the future successof our business and of our investors.

[Update: There is now a press release]

The deal is for a 60% stake at closing, after which New York Life — via its New York Life Investments subsidiary — will acquire additional 20% stakes at three times over the next seven years. No financial terms were disclosed.

Virginia-based Private Advisors manages a series of private equity, venture capital, hedge and arbitrage funds-of-funds. It experienced a bit of management shake-up earlier this year, when firm co-founder Rafael Astruc resigned suddenly. No explanation was ever given for the move, due to confidentiality clauses in the separation agreement.

Here is the entire letter:

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