(Bloomberg) -- French buyout firm Ardian SAS is close to a deal to acquire more than $1 billion of private equity fund stakes from British Columbia Investment Management Corp., according to people familiar with the matter. 

The transaction may close in the next few months, one of the people said, asking not to be identified discussing a confidential matter. 

The British Columbia fund, which manages the retirement savings of government workers in the Canadian province, was considering the sale of about $2 billion worth of Europe-focused investments and reducing its US positions to rebalance its portfolio and free up cash, Bloomberg News reported last June.

Spokespeople for Ardian and BCI declined to comment. 

BCI owned C$28.3 billion ($20.6 billion) of private equity assets as of March 31, 2023, more than 10% of its holdings. It’s not clear which assets the pension manager intends to sell. BCI is an investor in dozens of private equity funds, including products managed by Bain Capital, Brookfield Asset Management and CVC. 

Some institutional investors hit their allocation limits to private equity when interest rate hikes in 2022 caused the value of publicly traded stocks and bonds to sink. 

When high borrowing costs constrained deal activity, it also hindered the ability of private equity fund managers to make distributions to their investors. That’s spurred some endowments and pensions to unload private equity stakes to raise cash and make room for new investments.

Investment Management Corp. of Ontario, for example, sold some of its stakes in infrastructure funds in the secondary market and may do the same in private equity, Chief Investment Officer Rossitsa Stoyanova told Bloomberg this month.  

In November, Ardian announced it had acquired a $2.1 billion portfolio of limited partnership interests in 20 private equity funds from Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. 

Read More: Ontario Fund Preaches Patience in Private Equity’s Winter

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