Global private equity major Blackstone Group LP's senior managing director Menes Chee has been elevated to head Blackstone Tactical Opportunities Fund in Asia.
This comes after senior managing director Kishore Moorjani resigned after heading the Tactical Opportunities Group in Asia for nine years.
Currently based in New York, Chee was previously responsible for sourcing, evaluating, and executing investments in private opportunities and capital markets for the Tactical Opportunities Group.
He will relocate from the firm’s New York headquarters to Hong Kong in February.
Chee had joined Blackstone in 2009 as a managing director of GSO Capital Partners, and was transferred to Tactical Opportunities Group in 2012.
Since last month, the New York-based investment firm has seen at least four senior level exits in Asia.
These include Amit Jain, Mumbai-based partner for the private equity business, and managing director in India Siddharth Gupta. According to Bloomberg, head of real estate for China, Tim Wang, has also left.
Beginning this year, Blackstone promoted three executives in India in its PE and real estate divisions.
The exits come at a time when Blackstone is seeking to raise at least $5 billion for its second private equity fund focused on Asia.
Blackstone India’s assets under management (AUM) including private equity, real estate and tactical as on December 31 stand at about $50 billion.
Moorjani (48) will continue to be in the firm as senior managing director till June 2021, a Blackstone spokesperson confirmed to VCCircle.
In an interview with VCCircle last year, Moorjani spoke about his plans to invest more in India’s distressed assets market.
He joined Blackstone in 2012, the year the firm established the tactical opportunities business that provides opportunistic and flexible corporate capital across structures and multiple asset classes including credit, real assets, debt and private equity investments.
Before joining Blackstone, Moorjani was the founder and chief investment officer of Credit Asia Capital, an Asian special situations investment firm he established in partnership with the Blackstone Strategic Alliance Fund.
Under Moorjani’s leadership, the team invested over $2 billion across 13 investments in Asia over seven years. In 2019, the group expanded its Hong Kong presence by hiring two additional executives to focus on investments in Greater China.
Since 2006 until last year, Blackstone said it had committed $15.2 billion of investments in the country through private equity, real estate and Tactical Opportunities funds.
In 2020, the Tactical Opportunities Fund made follow-on investments in New Zealand insurer Partners Life, an Indian distressed asset platform and in Indonesian logistics business Emergent. These came after initial investments in those platforms from 2016 to 2018, according to Bloomberg.
In India, the Tactical Opportunities Fund has also made investments in International Asset Reconstruction Company Pvt. Ltd (IARC) and Future Lifestyle Fashions Ltd.
It bought a 51% stake in IARC in 2018.
In November 2019, Blackstone invested Rs 1,200 crore ($167 million) in the holding company of Future Lifestyle Fashions Ltd. The investment in Ryka Commercial Ventures Pvt. Ltd added to the Rs 550 crore the private equity firm had invested in Future Lifestyle through its Tactical Opportunities, or Tac Opps, unit in July 2019.
In terms of overall investments in 2020 in India, the private equity major was a close second among PE firms after Saudi Arabia’s PIF, at around $3.2 billion with seven deals so far. It struck back-to-back transactions worth over $1 billion each in the last quarter of 2020.
Last month, it sealed the acquisition of Indian billionaire Ajay Piramal-owned Piramal Glass Pvt. Ltd at an enterprise valuation of Rs 7,500 crore (about $1 billion), outbidding many other private equity firms for the glass packaging company.
In November, Blackstone signed a binding term sheet with Bengaluru-based Prestige Project Estates Ltd to acquire commercial, retail and hotel properties for about $1.23 billion.
It is also in advanced discussions to acquire L&T Finance’s mutual fund business.
Blackstone’s total AUM (assets under management) rose to $585 billion as of the end of September, up from $564.3 billion in the previous quarter. Blackstone had $152.4 billion of unspent capital as of the end of September.