Bain Capital might start managing Harvard’s real estate assets

Move would be a step forward in university’s attempt to overhaul its endowment

Harvard University (Credit: Getty Images)
Harvard University (Credit: Getty Images)

Harvard University’s effort to revamp its endowment could be receiving an assist from Bain Capital.

The famed private equity firm, co-founded by former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, is in talks to take over management of part of the university’s real estate assets, according to Bloomberg. It would mark a significant entrance into the real estate market for Bain.

The university’s $37.1 billion endowment is currently overseen by Harvard Management Company, and Bain would take on roughly 20 people from that team. Harvard Management hired a new CEO last year and has been trying to reduce its staff of 230 people by 50 percent.

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Bain manages roughly $75 billion worth of investments but has not entered the real estate market, even as peers like KKR & Co. and TPG have moved into the sector over the past few years.

Harvard’s partners include New York-based developers Crown Acquisitions and A&E Real Estate Holdings, according university filings.

Harvard’s portfolio has been underperforming as of late, and the university committed to selling its interest in real estate funds valued at about $1.6 billion to Landmark Partners over the summer.  [Bloomberg]Eddie Small