Carlyle snaps up Abu Dhabi chief executive

The US buyout firm has appointed Walid Musallam to head its Middle East hybrid investing business, which is due to hit the fundraising trail for up to $1 billion.

The Carlyle Group, the US alternative assets giant, has recruited the former chief executive of Abu Dhabi Investment Company to set up its Middle East and North African operations, according to a source close to the firm.
Walid Musallam will spearhead the group’s fundraising for a hybrid vehicle, which the source said would have the flexibility to target growth capital deals and make private investments in public equity, known as PIPE deals, as well as invest in infrastructure and more conventional buyouts.

The firm, which has not yet begun formal marketing for the new fund, is targeting between $500 million and $1 billion. It is expecting to raise the money mostly from local investors keen to re-invest their capital domestically, the source said.

Musallam will probably be based in Dubai, but Carlyle Group is expected to have other offices across the region.

The fund will invest in Egypt and Turkey as well as the six-nation members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The flood of foreign investors and international banks into the Gulf region has led to fierce competition for personnel in the search for Arabic-speaking talent.

According to a report on Dow Jones Newswire both Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch are currently boosting their operations.

The Carlyle Group declined to comment.