Two global buyout funds are set to launch their first dedicated real-estate funds signalling the growing interest in the property asset class. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, the buyout firm run by Henry Kravis and George Roberts, and TPG Capital Management are looking to raise a combined $1.5 billion or more for the funds. Both the firms are looking at hitting the fundraising ground soon with KKR committing a significant amount of the firm's capital to the new venture and TPG eyeing the second quarter to begin marketing the fund.

Their proposed real estate play is not small by any metric. TPG’s real-estate fund - the larger of the two - with a target of at least $1 billion is raising a fund which would make it the second-largest property fund ever, The Wall Street Journal reports. TPG willl pursue multiple real-estate fund strategies such as buying up distressed properties, and also seek to take a more private-equity approach to the space, buying whole property companies and large portfolios of buildings.

“We combine sound property capabilities with corporate-style investing, which TPG has significant expertise in,” Kelvin Davis, head of TPG’s real-estate group, told the Wall Street Journal.

On the other hand, KKR plans to launch its fund with $500 million in initial capital. The firm has been investing in real estate for two years, it is only now that it will be raising a dedicated real estate fund of its own.

Both TPG and KKR are late in pursuing dedicated real estate fund strategies and hitting the fund raising ground. Rivals including Blackstone Group and Carlyle Group have raised multibillion-dollar property funds in the past, which have generated large fees and boosted their firms' income.

Blackstone has been steadily building its real estate business to about $57 billion of assets under management now. It owns real estate properties such as Hilton Worldwide Inc. and California’s Hotel del Coronado. The New York-based firm last year raised a $13.3 billion real estate opportunity fund, a record for the industry and is only getting more bullish on real estate. Blackstone Group is betting heavily on residential real estate, CNBC reported recently quoting its Chairman and CEO Stephen Schwarzman.

"Blackstone is now the largest owner of individual houses in the United States," Schwarzman told CNBC. Carlyle, based in Washington, oversees real estate funds in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

It is, however, premature to assess what implications will it have in India as it would depend upon how these PE majors view the Indian property market both in terms of opportunity and relevance to their strategies.

TPG manages a growth and a buyout fund in India having made about a dozen investments across funds. KKR has invested over $1.1 billion in India and its PE portfolio includes Aricent, Avantha Power, Cafe Coffee Day, Dalmia Cement, Magma Fincorp and TVS Logistics. The NYSE-listed buyout major, which set up India operations in 2009, also lends through a non-banking finance company. It also received SEBI's approval under new AIF norms for a fund, KKR India Alternative Credit Opportunities Fund 1.

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