Private equity making Asia inroads

June 30, 2009

U.S. private equity firms are making further inroads in Asia.

Overnight, Carlyle announced it raised $1.04 billion for its fourth Asian growth capital fund — nearly double the size of its previous such fund.

The fund has already made investments into companies including the high-end Chinese women’s apparel maker Ellassay. Fundraising is exceptionally tough right now for private equity firms. Carlyle said nearly 40 percent of the fund’s investors are new and that it raised the fund in 14 months, reflecting improved investor sentiment towards China and India.

Blackstone, increasingly aggressive in Asia, on Monday hired an executive from Deutsche Asset Management to lead its capital raising efforts across the Asia-Pacific region. The firm has also been talking to the Shanghai city government to set up a wholly owned China subsidiary as it prepares to launch a local currency private equity fund, sources previously told Reuters.

Deals of the day: 

* Japan’s Shinsei Bank and Aozora Bank, two loss-making lenders backed by U.S. investors, are likely to announce plans on Wednesday to merge by next year, two sources familiar with the matter said.  
* Shareholders in Australian investment firm Macquarie Communications Infrastructure Group voted in favour of a $1.3 billion takeover offer from the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB). 

* Belgium-based RHJ International is close to a deal to buy a stake in Opel after talks between parent General Motors and preferred bidder Magna International hit snags. 

* Swedish software company Global Gaming Factory X AB said it had agreed to buy free file-sharing website The Pirate Bay, and that it would find ways to compensate copyright owners for downloaded material. 
* Shanghai Airlines expects a detailed plan for a long-anticipated merger with China Eastern Airlines to emerge next month, a senior executive at the airline said. 

* Finland’s Ruukki Group Plc said it would acquire Australia’s platinum-group metals producer Sylvania Resources Ltd for 268 million euros ($378.1 million) under a merger implementation agreement.

* Russia’s Alfa Group, locked in a five-year boardroom war with Telenor, has halted talks with the Norwegian telecoms group on a potential merger of their Russian and Ukrainian assets, an Alfa official said.

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