Dubai International Capital (DIC), the Middle East investment group, has set its sights on a New York opening in 2009.
In an interview with PERE's sister website, PEO, David Smoot, who joined the firm last week from Morgan Stanley, said it was “logical” for him to return as part of a New York office opening. “Staff would be a combination of redeployed executives from within DIC and additional recruitment.”
Until then Smoot will be based in Dubai. “It’s a great opportunity to spend time in the home office, working shoulder to shoulder with the team, working on best practice, learning the firm’s culture,” he said.
Smoot, who co-founded Morgan Stanley Private Equity, is tasked with developing DIC’s business in the US. He said: “This is our first step into North America and is a natural progression of our business. We have always had two strategies under one roof in our private equity business, buyouts in mature economies such as Europe and growth investments in emerging markets. Both are accelerating.”
In the US he will continue DIC’s strategy of buying global companies looking to grow abroad, especially in emerging markets, and growing market share through secondary buyouts. Among DIC's landmark acqusitions are the £800 million ($1.6 billion; €1 billion) deal for the UK theme park and visitor attraction operator Tussauds Group for £800 million and the £675 million secondary buyout of UK budget hotel chain Travelodge. Tussauds was later merged with The Blackstone Group’s Merlin Entertainments Group in 2007.
Smoot said one of the attractions in joining the firm after 11 years with Morgan Stanley was the Dubai firm’s strong brand: “If you are looking for a partner, particularly strong in emerging markets, we are top of the list.” He also said it was well supplied with capital giving it unrivalled access to debt financing.
Established in 2004, DIC is a wholly owned supsidiary of Dubai Holding, which manages assets of more than $12 billion (€7.6 billion). DIC’s private equity management team now comprises of Sylvain Denis, Smoot, Alan Hyslop, Michel Gaudreau, Peter Jansenberger and Brian Lindley. Hyslop and Gaudreau are the other managing directors while Jansenberger and Lindley are directors.