Billionaire Nelson Peltz is seeking to raise $1.5 billion for a fund aimed at buying minority stakes in public companies, according to two people with direct knowledge of his plans.
Mr. Peltz, who oversees New York-based hedge-fund firm Trian Fund Management, is marketing the investment pool as a private equity fund because client money will be locked up for longer than with most hedge funds, said the people, who declined to be identified. The fund will seek representation on the boards of companies in which it invests, said one of the people.
The fund already has secured $433 million in commitments, according to one of the people. It is targeting sovereign wealth and pension funds, family offices and funds of funds.
Mr. Peltz is the largest investor in fast-food chain Wendy's/Arby's Group and is known for buying stakes in companies and then pushing them to increase their value by cutting costs or merging. He is venturing into private equity at a time when fundraising is at an eight-year low and firms struggle to revive leveraged buyouts amid stricter lending conditions.
“Due to the lack of debt financing, private equity investors will direct money increasingly toward listed companies, with the aim to exert influence over the companies' strategy,” said Jeremie Le Febvre, partner at Paris-based Triago, which advises funds seeking to solicit investors. “The frontiers between private and public equity are blurring.”
Trian on Jan. 8 filed in Delaware to incorporate the fund, called Trian Partners Strategic Investment Fund, along with the general partnership that would run it, one of the people said. The fund has yet to file a private-placement notice with the SEC.
Carrie Bloom, a spokeswoman for Trian, said she had no immediate comment.