Until recently, when you mentioned “Japan” in the investment context, you could almost hear a collective sigh of disappointment — it was all about recession, deflation and poor investment returns.
With property markets stabilising and hopes that the worst of the financial crisis is behind us, Europe's banks are now looking to resolve their next biggest problem: 225 billion pounds of loans backed by UK commercial property.
Opportunistic buyers, lovingly dubbed "tourists" by those in the industry, have moved into the secondary private equity market. They're looking for positions in brand-name private equity funds at knock-down prices. As I wrote in a DealTalk today:"Pension funds and wealthy middle-east sovereign wealth funds are buying up investments in private equity funds, pushing up prices and sidelining secondary firms that specialise in acquiring the assets."The market for second-hand private equity assets -- where private equity investors offload assets to specialist buyers -- has mushroomed as the credit crisis has intensified. And increasing numbers of cash-strapped investors are concerned about meeting their future commitments to buyout funds."New investors have been attracted to deals by steep discounts to net asset value, forcing up prices for specialist buyers, such as Goldman Sachs (GS.N) and HarbourVest Partners (HVPE.AS) that last month closed secondary funds after reaching their $5.5 billion and $2.9 billion targets respectively."Read the full piece here.
Bank of America’s planned $44.3 billion acquisition of Merrill Lynch is the seventh largest bank acquisition ever announced, according to Thomson Reuters Deals Intelligence. Bank of America is the fourth largest bank globally and the top US bank with a market value of US$153.9 billion.