Searchlight taps ex-OTPP exec to lead $1.5bn infra fundraise

Andrew Claerhout is joining the NY-based private equity firm, which has exposure to telecoms and digital infrastructure, as it looks to launch a broader infra strategy.

Searchlight Capital Partners is bringing in Andrew Claerhout, a Canadian pension infrastructure veteran, to help the private equity firm raise its first infrastructure fund, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The New York-based firm will seek to raise around $1.5 billion in commitments to invest in mid-market infrastructure companies in Europe and North America that have potential for growth and improvement, the source said. Sectors the strategy will focus on include communications and digital infrastructure, transportation and logistics, energy and power, water and waste management, and social infrastructure.

According to Searchlight, a private equity firm which manages over $7 billion in assets, Claerhout will lead infrastructure investments for the firm as a partner, alongside Darren Glatt, who joined in 2013.

Claerhout brings 13 years’ experience to the firm, having worked at one of North America’s largest pension funds, the C$201.4 billion ($151.7 billion; €137 billion) Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, including more than four years as head of its infrastructure and natural resources group.

While at OTPP, he managed over $18 billion of infrastructure investments, helped establish the pension’s London office and developed the private capital group’s strategy in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Claerhout left OTPP and joined Boston Consulting Group in February 2018.

Searchlight has raised private equity and opportunistic funds that have invested in a number of communications and digital infrastructure companies. Those include Eolo, an Italian fixed wireless broadband provider, and telecoms company Liberty Latin America.

Searchlight had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.