The Blackstone Group has set up an office in Japan, its third office in Asia after Mumbai and Hong Kong, as part of an Asian expansion plan.
The firm lags other US private equity groups such as TPG and The Carlyle Group in entering Asia but has made headlines globally by successfully attracting $3 billion from China Investment Corp, a newly established government investment agency.
The Tokyo office is led by Alan Miyasaki, who joined Blackstone in 2001. He is a managing director in the firm’s real estate division and responsible for acquisitions in Asia. He recently moved to Tokyo from New York.
Since joining Blackstone, he has been involved in transactions worth over $20 billion in the retail and lodging sectors, according to the company website.
In August news reports there were rumors in news reports that Blackstone would be opening a Tokyo office. At the time it was reported that Daniel Fuji, the head of private equity at Japanese lender Shinsei Bank, had been tapped to help launch the effort. Miyasaki declined to comment on Blackstone’s broader private equity plans for Japan ahead of the office’s formal opening, but given Miyasaki's experience it is likely the office will target Japan's improving real estate market resulting from the continued economic recovery in that country.
The new office joins several others that Blackstone has set up across Asia in recent years. Blackstone’s set up an office focused on private equity and real estate transactions in Mumbai in 2005. In January, Blackstone opened a satellite office in Hong Kong to focus on private equity transactions, hiring former Hong Kong treasury secretary Antony Leung to head the office.
Blackstone isn't the only private equity firm to be expanding its Japan operations. Japan’s rapidly growing property market, which has been growing at rates not seen in many years, has prompted property investors are to starting to move in, hoping to take advantage of the country’s still low real estate prices after a 13 year decline shortly before improving economy drives prices up. In Richard Ellis hired former Bank of New York country head Takahide Akiyama as president and CEO and representative director for its Japanese operations. Earlier this year it was reported that LaSalle has been raising a $2-billion (€1.4 billion) Asia property fund and a $750 million fund for logistics buildings in Japan. The head of ING real estate investment in Asia recently told PERE he is upbeat on opportunities in Japan, where ING has assembled a local team with acquisition experience and local networks to seek assets outside Tokyo.