LaSalle creates special situations team in UK and Europe

The US property fund manager said the new business would assess corporate level acquisitions as well as debt and equity opportunities in a move towards higher risk, higher return strategies. Separately, LaSalle has plugged a gap in its European coverage by opening an office Milan led by former Redevco executive Francesco Coviello.

LaSalle Investment Management has established a special situations team in Europe in order to make investments in more complex situations.

According to the firm, which manages $54 billion (€34 billion) of global assets, the new team will evaluate potential corporate level acquisitions, structured debt and equity opportunities, including investments in large-scale joint ventures, private real estate operating companies, corporate sale and leasebacks, structured debt and equity interests, distressed debt and public company buyouts.

“The announcement reflects LaSalle’s commitment to pursuing its long-term strategic vision in all market cycles and increases its capabilities to make attractive investments in more complex situations,” the firm said in a statement.

To help staff the team, LaSalle has recruited Amy Aznar, former managing director at Merrill Lynch Global Principal Investments, where she was responsible for large and strategic transactions including joint ventures and non performing loan acquisitions. Prior to Merrill Lynch, Aznar was at Jones Lang LaSalle’s corporate finance team and LaSalle Partners in Chicago, where she was involved in capital raising. She has also worked for Morgan Stanley Real Estate in New York. Aznar will report to co-heads of European investment, Simon Marrison and Charles Maudsley. Further appointments are yet to be made.

The appointment came as LaSalle also opened an office in Milan, to be headed by Redevco’s former chief acquisitions officer for Italy, Francesco Coviello. He joins LaSalle as head of acquisitions for Italy reporting to Andy Watson, head of acquisitions for southern Europe. Coviello has also worked for Henderson Global Investors, based in Italy.

LaSalle said Italy provided the firm with a “solid footprint” in one of Europe’s largest markets. The Italy team would particularly look at retail opportunities in the country as well as offices and infrastructure after Milan was named host of the 2015 World Expo fair. Simon Marrison, co-head of Europe, said in a statement that “no fewer than six LaSalle managed funds” had invested in the country.