Harbert poised for €110m fund close

Alabama-based alternatives asset management firm Harbert Management Corporation has raised €110m for its Harbert European Real Estate Fund III fund. The firm is expected to close fundraising for the vehicle later this year.

Harbert Management Corporation has raised around €110 million so far for its latest European opportunistic real estate fund, PERE has learned.

The Alabama-based alternatives asset firm began marketing its third European opportunity fund, Harbert European Real Estate Fund III, halfway through 2010 having almost reached the 75 percent investment mark on its predecessor fund, Harbert European Real Estate Fund II, which attracted $315 million in 2007.

Having garnered the commitments, PERE sources said Harbert was expected to hold a closing imminently. The firm is expected to hold a final closing for the vehicle before the end of the year.

Despite having not closed the fund to investors, Harbert has already begun investing its capital. In December last year, it was reported to have completed the purchase of the BSI Tower in Chiswick, west London. For that deal, Harbert teamed up with UK property company Canmoor to buy the 90,000 square foot property from The Carlyle Group for around £29 million (€33 million; $47 million) and subsequently reengineered a key lease. The office was part of the ‘Thames’ portfolio of assets that Carlyle acquired last July for £670 million. 

Similar to the second fund, Harbert’s investment strategy for the third vehicle is pan-European. Half of the equity of Fund II was deployed in 2009 and early 2010 in markets such as the UK, Spain and Scandinavia.

In Europe, the investment team is led by senior managing director, Scott O'Donnell, and it operates from offices in London, Madrid and Paris.
Real estate is just one of three strands to Harbert’s alternatives business, the other two being private capital investments, including private equity, and absolute return strategies.

In the US, the company is often credited with helping launch the career of US billionaire hedge fund manager Philip Falcone.

Harbert declined to comment on its fundraising activities.