Madison Dearborn real estate group spins out

Brian Newman and Michael Wilson have formed Ceres Real Estate Partners together with iStar veteran Jeffrey Digel to target distressed debt and equity investments in the US. The firm is expected to target debt, hospitality and senior housing among other opportunities.

Madison Dearborn Partners’ real estate group has spun out to form Ceres Real Estate Partners.

Chicago-based Ceres is being led by former Madison Dearborn executives Brian Newman and Michael Wilson. They have been joined by ex-iStar veteran Jeffrey Digel.

The firm’s managing principal, Newman, was head of Madison Dearborn’s real estate group investing in the asset class through Madison’s private equity funds. He previously co-led Merrill Lynch’s Global Principal Investments group with responsibility for both equity and high-yield debt, and was formerly an acquisitions executive with Walton Street Capital.

Michael Wilson takes on the role of chief financial officer of Ceres, a role he performed at Madison Dearborn. Madison has raised more than $14 billion in commitments across five funds.

Digel was previously executive vice president of investments at iStar Financial and co-head of the firm's investment committee. He joins Ceres as head of debt investments.

Ceres is expected to focus on debt investments, hospitality and senior housing and health care opportunities, but will look across all property sectors.

Newman, Wilson and Digel have also been joined by Marcus Buerosse, who previously worked at Ocwen Financial and Greater Florida Bank, as Ceres’ head of restructurings and property operations and ex- Santa Monica Hotel Group president Pamela Greacen as head of Ceres’ hospitality investments.