KKR appoints Asia real estate head

The New York-based private equity giant has continued growing out its real estate team with the appointment of ex-JPMorgan managing director Bryan Southergill to lead its activities in Asia.

New York-based private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) & Co has hired its first Asia head of real estate, PERE can reveal.

The firm last month hired Bryan Southergill from JPMorgan where he was a managing director and head of Asia real estate investing. He is expected to assume his new role at KKR in July following a spell of gardening leave.

The appointment of Southergill comes more than two years after KKR hired former Goldman Sachs executive Ralph Rosenberg in New York to build a real estate division from scratch for the firm. In March last year Rosenberg brought aboard Guillaume Cassou, another ex-Goldman Sachs executive, to drive its European real estate investing activities. The hire of Southergill means KKR will have leadership in all three major regions.

In Southergill, KKR has hired another executive with an extensive investment bank background. He was at JP Morgan for five and a half years where, latterly, he was in charge of the firm’s proprietary real estate special situations investing business in Asia. Primarily investing balance sheet capital, he was involved in senior, mezzanine and subordinated debt transactions as well as various types of equity deals involving both property companies and hard assets.

He joined JPMorgan from Moran Stanley Real Estate Investing (MSREI) where he worked in both principal investments and corporate finance advisory situations. While with MSREI he executed the firm’s first transactions in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand.

Although Southergill is KKR’s first Asia head of real estate, the firm has already committed equity to Asian real estate investments. In September 2011, the firm formed a 50:50 China-focused real estate fund with Beijing-based property developer Sino-Ocean Land Holdings, the two partners injecting an initial $140 million of equity into the venture.

Earlier this year, the firm also reportedly started a joint venture with Singapore sovereign wealth fund, Government of Singapore Investment Corporation aimed at lending debt to real estate developers in India.
Should the venture receive regulatory approval it could have about $150 million to inject into the Indian market.

Neither Southergill nor KKR would comment.