‘No change’ for Apollo Real Estate

Senior partner Lee Neibart explains the firm’s decision to change its name to AREA Property Partners in an interview with PERE magazine and where its focus will be in the future.

Apollo Real Estate Advisors may be changing its name to AREA Property Partners on 15 January, 2009, but for senior partner Lee Niebart there will be “no change”.

In an interview to be published in the December issue of PERE magazine, Neibart said the rebranding was simply that and would not alter the private equity real estate firm’s strategy. “We are developers, real estate guys and we will continue to do what we do. There will be no change.”

The move follows an agreement made with the buyout shop of Leon Black, Apollo Global Management, at the end of October to differentiate between the two brands. Earlier this year, Black decided to expand his private equity shop into the real estate domain, hiring former Citi Property Investors president and chief executive officer Joseph Azrack to lead the activities. Apollo Real Estate was set up by William Mack and Black in 1993, however any formal affiliation between the two firms ended by 2000, according to an SEC filing.

Neibart said AREA was returning, almost, to its roots because of the market crisis and economic downturn. The firm had done “selective transactions” over the past two years, but would focus increasingly on larger banks and financial institutions eager to dispose of their real estate assets.

Those assets would be in major cities globally, not locations that might be classed as secondary, or even tertiary.

During the interview, Neibart offered words of advice for newer fund managers who might not have experienced such turbulent times. “If you haven’t raised your money, be patient for the next few months. If you’ve raised your money be very, very, very, very careful and check the quality of your tenants that you are investing that money in,” he said.

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