Kaiser-backed PE firm launches $100m real estate JV

Argonaut Private Equity, an investment firm of US billionaire George Kaiser, has teamed up with hotel real estate and management company Aimbridge Hospitality for a $100m co-investment fund. The partnership marks Argonaut’s foray into hotel investments.

Argonaut Private Equity, an Oklahoma-based investment firm of US billionaire George Kaiser, has created a $100 million co-investment fund with Dallas-based hotel real estate investment and management company Aimbridge Hospitality.  

The Fund will look at investing in hotel properties or debt that represent “solid investment returns, primarily in major markets with quality brands for Aimbridge management,” but will also look at other criteria for opportunities, a spokesperson told PERE.

“Our partnership with Aimbridge Hospitality and the resulting $100 million co-investment fund is an excellent vehicle for our entry into hotel investments,” managing director of Argonaut Private Realty, Steve Mitchell said in statement. Argonaut was unavailable for further comment at press time.

It is unknown how much of the $100 million will come from Aimbridge, but a spokesperson stated the firm’s principals were “contributing to the fund in a significant amount.”  

Founded in 2002, Argonaut has more than $2 billion of assets under management, and last August purchased an outstanding $40.8 million note on a 116,000-square-foot San Francisco office from Realty Finance Corporation.

Realty Finance had acquired the property for $19.9 million after foreclosing on the office block from Lincoln Property. The price reflected a discount of roughly 25 percent of the building's replacement cost, according to Grubb & Ellis, the property services firm which brokered the transaction. In that deal, Argonaut paid approximately $172 per square foot for the office.

Argonaut invests in a variety of sectors and countries, as well as US real estate, with deals including a $67 million investment in Netherlands and India-focused software company, Cordys Holding, in 2007 and a $10 million investment into Kouton’s, a Delhi-based retailer, in 2006.