Viking Global Investors, the $28.8 billion firm led by Andreas Halvorsen, is preparing the launch of a new fund to focus on illiquid investments, according to three people briefed on the matter.
The firm is seeking up to $2 billion for the Viking Global Opportunities fund by mid-November, according to the people. Viking employees will contribute some of that and plan to start investing the capital on January 1, 2015. Viking already manages $20.6 billion in long-short hedge fund assets and more than $8 billion in long-only strategies as of July 1.
A spokesman for the firm declined to comment.
Investing in private companies and public ones that are difficult to trade quickly isn't new for Viking. It has previously invested in First Data and Alibaba, for example. The new fund reflects Viking's desire to have a vehicle structured specifically for illiquid assets and increased opportunities in the sector, according to a person familiar with the thinking.
Investing in illiquid assets is also not new for firms that have traditionally focused on hedge funds. Tiger Global Management, Coatue Management and Glade Brook Capital Management are examples of money managers that have invested in private companies recently. Like Viking, all have ties to Julian Robertson's Tiger Management.
Viking's hedge fund, Viking Global Equities, is up 6.4 percent this year through June; the Viking Long Fund is up 9.5 percent. Both are net of fees.
The firm recently made co-chief investment officer Dan Sundheim the sole CIO. Former co-CIO Tom Purcell is taking a six-month sabbatical but will remain a member of the executive and management committees, according to an Absolute Return report.
This story has been updated to reflect the correct size of Viking's long-only strategies.