EUROPE NEWS: Man of the moment: Nick Weber

After the best part of two decades plying his trade alongside legendary Goldman Sachs investor Mark ‘Goldfinger’ McGoldrick, Nick Weber has peeled off to launch his own investment firm.

Weber joined McGoldrick in leaving Goldman Sachs to set up Mount Kellett in 2008, but left last year after a downturn in the firm’s fortunes following some ill-timed US energy-related investments.

Fortress Investment Group, a New York-based organization like Goldman Sachs and Mount Kellett, took co-management responsibility of the latter’s $5 billion-worth of funds, but by this stage Weber was already planning his own venture. “I’ve spent nearly 15 years helping to run large principal investment platforms,” Weber told PERE. “But I decided to leave to set up my own business and was able to do so with an attributable track record.”

That business is called Henderson Park, a private equity real estate firm based in London’s Victoria. Henderson Park employs almost 10 people already and has seed capital of $500 million-plus. A trio of blue chip investors – the private equity firm Stone Point Capital and Kuwaiti investors, Kuwait Investment Authority and Wafra Investment Advisory Group – stumped up the equity. Mount Kellett’s European real estate performance record, for which Weber was hailed as responsible, evidently played a role in wooing those groups.

All three are Mount Kellett investors and therefore are familiar with the track record: PERE understands from market sources that the firm’s European real estate deals generated a return of more than 25 percent and a 2x equity multiple. “It was time to take my shot,” he said. “Fortress is a great firm, but I wanted to be more personally entrepreneurial and create my own asset management firm. That’s why I lined up with these world class partners with a vision of building something institutional.”

The strategy will be focused on value-add and opportunistic investments in key European property markets. Investments will cover assets and operating companies, direct or indirectly via debt and across all property sectors. “There’s probably $2 billion of deals we’re triaging,” said Weber. But we’re patient. Our business is all about relationships, some we’ve known for five years, some 20 years. Repeat off-market dealflow is how we’ll see things.”

On the slate already are transactions in the UK, France, Spain and the Nordics. Weber said the first acquisitions should be completed within two months.