Henderson Park in $950m first closing – Exclusive

Nick Weber’s London-based private equity real estate firm has added to an initial $500m of backing with a first fundraising round including equity from US, Middle Eastern and UK investors.

London-based private equity real estate firm Henderson Park has held a first closing for its maiden investment fund little more than seven months after launching it and a year after the company’s inception.

The firm, which was formed by ex-Goldman Sachs and Mount Kellett executive Nick Weber last September, is understood to have brought the capital of its pan-Europe-focused Henderson Park Real Estate Fund to $950 million after receiving backing from US, Middle Eastern and UK investors. Among the backers are thought to be family offices, high-net-worth individuals and institutions. The firm began formally marketing the vehicle in February.

The capital raising includes an initial $500 million from Henderson Park’s sponsors, the Greenwich, Connecticut-based private equity firm Stone Point Capital, sovereign wealth fund Kuwait Investment Authority and New York and Kuwait-based investment manager Wafra Investment Advisory Group.

That initial money was raised at launch and Weber’s firm has since been busy investing with notable outlays in the accommodation sectors, specifically hotels and multi-family residential. In the former Henderson Park last month completed the acquisition of two Hilton Metropole hotels in London and Birmingham in a transaction valued at £500 million ($665 million; €566 million). That deal followed the €365 million purchase of Paris’s largest hotel, Le Meridien Etoile, in November last year and the Ledra, a five-star hotel in Athens for €33 million in June.

Henderson Park is another example of a private equity real estate firm established and immediately supported on the track record of its founder. Another example was Ellis Short, the former Lone Star Funds executive who formed Kildare Partners in 2013 and managed to raise $2 billion for its debut fund, Kildare European Partners, at final closing a year later.

In one example of Weber’s track record, while at Mount Kellett, he was understood to have led the purchase and sale of the Jury’s Inn hotel group, an investment that heralded a 90 percent-plus IRR and 3.25x equity multiple, a return that is significantly higher than those typically expected for value-add or opportunistic strategies, both of which are part of Henderson Park’s investing program for its first fund.

In terms of multi-family investment, the firm formed a joint venture with sector specialist Greystar Real Estate Partners, the South Carolina-based investment manager which kicked off with the purchase of a portfolio in the UK from domestic developer Barratt Homes for £140.5 million.

It is understood that these transactions and others have accounted for approximately 40 percent of the first fund’s equity. Fundraising is set to continue, however, with European investors due to be engaged next. It is believed a target of bringing the fund to $1.3 billion by mid-next year has been set.

Henderson Park declined to comment.