Benson Elliot closes first fund on €335m

The fledgling private equity real estate company has closed Benson Elliot Real Estate Partners II on €335m.

Benson Elliot, the private equity real estate firm recently launched by former Doughty Hanson Real Estate head Marc Mogull, has closed its first European fund with €335 million ($430 million) in commitments.

The close, which exceeded the fund’s €300 million target, comes four months after fundraising began for Benson Elliot Real Estate Partners II.

It marks a return to the European investment scene for Mogull, a founder and former head of Doughty Hanson Real Estate who left in May 2005 to set up the fledgling operation.

The fund’s twenty investors are from Europe, North America and the Middle East. Makena Capital Management, a US money management firm, is among them.

Earlier this month, the firm announced it had beefed up its team with the appointment of Leopoldo Andreis de Gregorio, formerly with Lehman Brothers’ European private equity real estate team, to focus on investment activities in Italy.

His appointment follows that of Trish Geery, former managing director and head of global real estate for the Dubai Investment Group, and Philip Irons, former head of transactions at Schroders.

With leverage of around 75 percent, the fund will have up to €1 billion to spend across Europe, primarily in the UK, Germany, Scandinavia, Italy, France and Eentral and Eastern Europe.

Mogull, a former JP Morgan banker left Doughty Hanson after seven years with the firm.