Colony hires TPG exec as it eyes private equity deals

The Los Angeles-based real estate fund manager has appointed Justin Chang as principal to lead its push into private equity. Chang left TPG's Hong Kong office in 2008 after focusing on the firm’s technology practice.

Colony Capital has hired a former TPG executive as it looks to move into private equity investments.

The Los Angeles-based fund manager is renowned of its real estate deals, however the firm had hired Justin Chang as principal to extend the Colony brand into energy, natural resources, healthcare and consumer products.

Sources familiar with the matter added that the firm, led by chairman Tom Barrack, would increasingly look to private equity to “complement its historical activities”.

Chang left TPG in late 2008 after 16 years with the buyout shop. Based in Hong Kong, Chang focused on TPG’s technology practice. He sat on the boards of portfolio companies including information management company Crystal Decisions, computer manufacturer Lenovo Group and power solutions supplier ON Semiconductor. 

Chang will be based at Colony’s Santa Monica office.

Barrack said in a statement the firm had known Chang for more than 15 years and he would “help us expand the Colony brand to many of [the energy, healthcare, technology and consumer products] industries across the globe”.

Colony is currently raising its second debt fund, Colony Distressed Credit Fund II, and is believed to be targeting between $500 million and $750 million for the vehicle. In 2008, Colony closed Fund I on $900 million after just one month of fundraising. The fundraising effort was led by founder and chairman Tom Barrack, with Colony approaching longtime investors for commitments. Now with the vehicle majority invested, Colony is off raising the follow-on fund.

The private real estate investment world has seen a regular flow of private equity shops enter the field, the latest being Leon Black’s Apollo Global Management, which hired former Citi Property Investors’ president Joseph Azrack to lead its real estate platform.

Apollo Global has since raised a US blind pool mortgage REIT, taken over the seven-strong team of Holdfast Capital – which will be leading Apollo’s effort in raising its first opportunity real estate fund in Asia – and is first in line to take over the Citi Property Investors’ platform, which was put up for sale by Citigroup last year.