The Blackstone Group, one of the world’s leading investment and advisory firms, has named Michael Chae, a Senior Managing Director in its Private Equity Group, as Head of Private Equity in Asia, based in Hong Kong.

Chae will also assume responsibility for the firm’s limited partner marketing personnel in Asia/Pacific and will coordinate firm-wide relationships with the Blackstone's key LPs in the region.

Ben Jenkins will continue in his key role of driving private equity transactions throughout the region.  Antony Leung remains as Blackstone’s Chairman for Greater China and will join the firm’s Executive Committee, a company statement said.

Since joining Blackstone in 1997, Chae has led some of Blackstone’s most significant investments, including Nielsen, Michaels Stores, The Weather Channel Companies, and Hilton Hotels. He graduated from Harvard University and received graduate degrees from Cambridge University and Yale Law School.

"Michael is one of our leaders and most senior partners in our private equity business, and his move to lead our business in Asia reflects our growing commitment to the region,” Stephen A. Schwarzman, Blackstone’s Chairman and CEO, said.

“As our business continues to globalize, Asia is becoming ever more central to the firm. The region is of strategic importance to us in terms of both the extraordinary investment opportunities and the critical role that Asian institutions are playing in our funds,” he added.

In 2009, Blackstone announced that it would raise in partnership with the Shanghai Pudong Government a renminbi-denominated private equity fund. This is the first renminbi fund established by a major foreign private equity fund in China. Blackstone’s private equity investments in the region currently include Bluestar Chemical, Dili, eMobile and China Animal Healthcare.

Last month, Blackstone agreed to manage over $2 billion of real estate assets in Asia owned by former funds of Bank of America/Merrill Lynch. The firm currently has 157 employees in Asia, with offices in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo and Mumbai.

The company recently raised a $15 billion private equity fund, a significant part of which will likely be invested in Asia. It is also raising a yuan-denominated fund for China.

In India, Blackstone has invested $300 million investment in Moser Baer Projects and holds 68% in apparel firm Gokaldas Exports where it invested $161 million. In September 2009, it invested $23 million (Rs 142 crore) in logistics company Allcargo, raising its stake to over 11% from 5.26% stake earlier. Blackstone had held 80% in BPO firm Intelenet Global, which it has reduced to own 66.25% recently. There are reports that Blackstone may be close to finalising a deal to invest around $100 million in Kolkata-based power producer Visa Power Ltd, which is part of the Rs 5,000 crore Visa Group.

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