EXCLUSIVE: Ex-Equity International CEO opens Brazil office

Jaguar Growth Partners, the private equity real estate firm led by Gary Garrabrant and Thomas McDonald, has hired its first Latin America-based professionals.

Jaguar Growth Partners has opened a new office in São Paulo office, its first location outside of its New York headquarters. The office, which officially opens today, will serve as the base for the firm’s investment and asset management activities in Brazil and throughout Latin America.

With the opening of the new location, Jaguar, which is led by former Equity International executives Gary Garrabrant and Thomas McDonald, has hired its first Latin America-based investment professionals, vice president Christian Klotz and associate Ricardo Costa. Klotz and Costa, who joined Jaguar a few weeks ago, will work as co-heads of the São Paulo office.

“We understand the importance of a local presence, strengthening our relationships with entrepreneurs, private equity firms and others in the region,” said McDonald. “Our presence in Brazil is the first of several strategic office locations, highly important and distinguishing for Jaguar Growth Partners,” added Garrabrant.

Before joining Jaguar, Klotz was co-founder of UJAY Capital, a fund manager focused on Brazilian and Latin American listed equity and macro securities. At UJAY, he also acted as portfolio manager of a long-short equity fund with investments in various sectors, including real estate. Prior to UJAY, he was a portfolio analyst at Pollux Capital, a Brazilian asset manager.

Costa previously was a partner at Gávea Investimentos, one of the largest alternative investment managers in Brazil. He joined the private equity division of Gávea as a principal in December 2010 and was named partner in January 2013. During his time at the firm, he led a number of investments in the Latin American country’s retail, logistics, services and telecom sectors. In October 2013, Costa became chief financial officer of CSS, a co-investment of Gávea and Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking focusing on opportunities in the telecom towers market in Brazil.

Jaguar, which invests in and develops real estate-related operating platforms and companies in growth markets globally, was founded in 2013 by Garrabrant and McDonald, the former chief executive and chief strategic officer, respectively, of Equity International, the Chicago-based private equity real estate firm led by Sam Zell. The two executives had been with EI since its inception in 1999; Garrabrant was co-founder of the firm with Zell, while McDonald had been responsible for investments at the company. Both men left EI in September 2012 and formed Jaguar the following spring.

As of June 5, Jaguar managed $30 million in regulatory assets under management, all on a discretionary basis, according to an August 31 filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm currently manages one commingled, discretionary fund, Jaguar Real Estate Partners. PERE reported in July 2014 that Jaguar was targeting approximately $750 million for its first property fund.