Apollo set for take-off in Asia

The New York private equity firm led by Leon Black has hired former Colony Capital head of Asia Pacific, Grant Kelley, as it seeks to raise its first fund in the region

Apollo Global Real Estate Management, the property wing of private equity firm Apollo Global Management, has appointed Grant Kelley to lead its Asia effort.

The New York-based company said today it had formed Apollo Global Real Estate Management, Asia Pacific Limited (AGREAP), and that Kelley would head up the business from Hong Kong.

Kelley is a big-hitter in the region having previously been chief executive officer of Colony Capital Asia until late 2008. He left the US firm to form Holdfast Capital, whose seven professionals are also transferring to Apollo to aid the Asia start-up.

“We are very pleased that Grant and his team will be joining us, to strengthen our presence in the Asia Pacific markets and bolster our investment capabilities in the region on behalf of our clients,” said Joe Azrack, managing director and head of Apollo Global Real Estate Management. “Grant will add a wealth of expertise and proven abilities to our organisation,” he added.

The firm said that at the outset, it expected to focus its investment activities in Australia, Japan and South Korea. In particular it is scouting distress-driven deals in the non-performing loan sector, as well as deals among real estate operating companies, and arising out of recapitalizations. It will also seek distressed individual assets.

The size of deals it contemplates would have an enterprise value of between $100 million and $500 million. AGREAP also plans over time to invest in the rapidly expanding growth economies of Asia, including China and India.

A report in the Financial Times suggested Apollo was targeting up to $1 billion of assets for its maiden Asia fund.