Blackstone hires Carlyle China dealmaker: sources

Tue Sep 20, 2011 1:57pm EDT

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(Reuters) - Blackstone Group LP (BX.N) has hired Yi Luo from rival Carlyle Group CYL.UL as a senior dealmaker for China as the giant private equity firm builds a new team in the region under Asia head Michael Chae, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.

Luo will be a senior managing director based in Shanghai and report directly to Chae, one of the sources said.

Chae, a former top Blackstone dealmaker from New York, came to Asia in December 2010 to run the private equity unit in the region, as well as to manage relationships with Blackstone's investors in the region.

Luo's hire comes within a week of news that Ben Jenkins, the firm's top dealmaker in Asia before Chae's arrival, is leaving Blackstone and returning to New York.

Blackstone and Carlyle declined to comment.

Luo was a Shanghai-based managing director at Carlyle focused on Asian buyout opportunities, one of 12 mainland Chinese managing directors the firm has for its three funds that invest in the country.

China is the primary focus for global firms investing in Asia. Of the $16.2 billion in private equity capital invested in Asia this year, $10.4 billion has been in China, recent Thomson Reuters data show.

To accelerate investments in an increasingly competitive market, Blackstone and rival firms, including TPG Capital LP TPG.UL, Carlyle and the private equity arms of Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) and Morgan Stanley (MS.N) are all raising local currency funds for China to accelerate investments.

Blackstone reached the first stage of capital raising for its 5 billion yuan fund in April. Elsewhere in the Asia Pacific region, Blackstone continues to invest from its global fund.

However, it has done a smaller amount of deals -- when measured by value -- in Asia than rivals KKR & Co LP (KKR.N) and TPG since the financial crisis of 2008, according to data from London-based research firm Preqin. Blackstone has done $1.6 billion of deals, compared with over $4 billion each by TPG and KKR.

Before joining Carlyle, Luo worked as an investment banker with what is now Bank of America Corp (BAC.N).

Luo worked on a number of deals, including the IPO for CNOOC Ltd (0883.HK) and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank's sale of a strategic stake to Citigroup Inc (C.N).

He is currently on leave and is expected to begin work with Blackstone later in the autumn.

(Reporting by Stephen Aldred in Hong Kong; editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Andre Grenon)

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