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Apollo RE changes name

The New York-based private equity real estate firm has changed its name to AREA Property Partners, effective from January next year, following Leon Black’s decision to expand his Apollo Global buyout shop into the real estate space.

Apollo Real Estate Advisors has agreed to change its name to AREA Property Partners from January next year to make way for Leon Black’s new real estate operations.

This summer, PERE exclusively revealed that Apollo Global Management was planning to expand its buyout shop and start its own real estate platform, hiring former Citi Property Investors president and chief executive officer Joseph Azrack to lead the operations.

At the time, people familiar with the situation said Apollo Global would attempt to brand its real estate arm with the Apollo moniker, despite the existence of Apollo Real Estate Advisors, which it helped set up with Bill Mack in 1993. Black, sources said at the time, had ambitions to rival the likes of Morgan Stanley Real Estate and Blackstone Real Estate.

Today, Mack and senior partner Lee Neibart said Apollo Real Estate would become AREA Property Partners from January 15, marking a “new chapter” in the history of the 15-year-old firm. “We have far exceeded the expectations we set for ourselves back in 1993,” said Mack in a statement.

Apollo Real Estate was established in 1993 by William Mack and Leon Black to take advantage of distress in the real estate market, with Apollo Global managing partners initially managing Apollo Real Estate funds and exerting some managerial control, according to an SEC filing. That affiliation ended in 2000, with Apollo Global managing partners continuing to have only “minority interests” in Apollo Real Estate Advisors.

Mack said the name change was made with the agreement of both firms, and that it would not effect AREA’s management, investments or operations. AREA would continue to operate from its Time Warner Center headquarters in New York, as well as from its six other offices in the US, Europe and India.

Mack went on to say AREA had “enjoyed a constructive relationship with Apollo Global”, with Neibart adding the firm would continue to raise funds and expand its “geographic footprint” in the future.

In July, AREA closed its latest value-add fund, the $758 million Apollo Value Enhancement Fund VII. The firm’s predecessor fund, VEF VI closed in November 2006 with $276 million in equity commitments.