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Former DCD vets form AION Partners

Siraj Dadabhoy and Michael Betancourt have launched their own private equity real estate group to target loan-to-own transactions and distressed real estate assets in large US cities.

DCD America principles Siraj Dadabhoy and Michael Betancourt have spun-out to launch their own private equity real estate firm, AION Partners.

The pair said the New York-based firm had already made its first transaction, buying eight non-performing first mortgage and mezzanine loans with a face value of $150 million. The firm plans to foreclose on the loans and take over the assets.

Dadabhoy was previously principal and chief executive officer of DCD America, the US investment arm of the real estate and banking company DCD Group. Betancourt was vice president.

There have been a raft of spin-outs in the past year, including Ceres Real Estate Partners, formerly Madison Dearborn Partners' real estate group and General Equity Real Estate, the executives of which were primarily from GE Real Estate's triple-net lease operations.

AION will co-invest in deals alongside equity partners, including DCD Group. Dadabhoy and Betancourt have previously worked with ING Clarion, Northstar Realty Finance and The Carlyle Group, the duo said in a statement.

At DCD America, Dadabhoy and Betancourt targeted core-plus and value-add office, mixed-use redevelopment and residential apartments in Manhattan, Los Angeles and Washington DC.

AION though would focus primarily on whole loans with a “view to acquire the underlying property and re-brand the assets in order to create a national portfolio”, Dadabhoy said in a statement. Betancourt said the pair had been planning the launch of AION for more than a year. It was formally launched last month.