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UC Wants State High Court to Rule on Portfolio Data

The system says making its private equity returns public, as ordered by the Court of Appeal, would make investing harder.

September 26, 2003|From Bloomberg News

The University of California, which this week lost its latest appeal to keep returns from its venture capital investments private, plans to take its case to the state's Supreme Court.

The university system, which manages an investment portfolio worth $53 billion, was sued in April by the San Jose Mercury News and other parties seeking disclosure of the performance of private equity fund investments in the portfolio.

Superior Court Judge James Richman ordered disclosure in July and rejected a motion for reconsideration last month. The Court of Appeal on Tuesday turned down the university's appeal of Richman's latest ruling. The university has until Oct. 3 to file an appeal.

The university has said that venture returns are a trade secret and that disclosing them would make some venture capital firms unwilling to let the university participate in their funds -- potentially costing it hundreds of millions of dollars.

Venture firm Sequoia Capital told the university last month that it was removing the school from its latest fund because Sequoia objected to making its performance public.

Other public institutions that have been petitioned for disclosure have released so-called internal rates of return for private equity funds.

"All we want is IRRs," said Karl Olson, a lawyer representing a University of California labor union and a retired University of California professor who joined the Mercury News in its April petition.

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