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Celebrity fund launches $2bn India vehicle

AAIM, which counts celebrities such as Simon Cowell and Sir Alex Ferguson among its investors, will open a Delhi office soon to begin the work of investing in the subcontinent.

UK-based Asset Investment Management Group is launching a $2 billion (£1 billion, €1.4 billion) fund for India.

The vehicle, which has raised an initial $100 million of equity, will target commercial and residential development in the north and west of the country. The five-year fund will have a two-year investment period. AAIM said it hopes to have $500 million of properties under management by the first year by focusing  on second-tier cities.

AAIM has received a great deal of attention because of the celebrity status of some of its high net worth investors. Those investors include American Idol/X Factor producer Simon Cowell, Manchester United football manager Sir Alex Ferguson and British TV personality Sir David Frost.

The firm is also opening a Delhi office to operate from, which will be headed by Anurag Chaturvedi, previously with Richard Ellis and KPMG.

AAIM chief executive Robert Whitton told Britain’s The Daily Telegraph newspaper that the firm is in the process of signing two development deals with local partners; a $150 million shopping center near Delhi, and an $800 million mixed-use residential development near Mumbai.

Whitton also said that the group had been considering China as well as India but opted for India because it has a similar legal and land system to the UK.

An increasing number of fund managers have been launching funds to target real estate development in India’s second-tier cities. UBS, Protego Real Estate Investors, JPMorgan Chase, HDFC, ICICI Venture Funds Management and Sun-Apollo India Real Estate Fund are some of the firms that have raised funds to invest in Indian property in its rapidly growing second-tier cities.