Asia Private Equity Weekly News, April 22, 2014

HONG KONG, April 22 Tue Apr 22, 2014 5:36am EDT

HONG KONG, April 22 (Reuters) - News and developments in Asia private equity from Reuters News for the week ended April 18.

APRIL 18

BLACKSTONE GROUP LP, the world's largest alternative asset manager, reported a 30 percent increase in first-quarter earnings on strong gains in its private equity arm which more than offset small declines in its real estate unit.

APRIL 17

STANDARD CHARTERED'S planned sale of its Hong Kong consumer finance unit has drawn first-round bids from suitors like Carlyle Group and Bain Capital, lured by the unit's industry-beating returns, people familiar with the matter said.

WEIBO CORP executives toasted the Chinese social media firm's debut at Nasdaq's New York headquarters. Hours earlier in Beijing, Charles Xue, a Chinese-American venture capitalist and prominent Weibo user, celebrated a different kind of coming-out: his release after eight months in jail.

SHARES OF Weibo rose 19 percent in their U.S. debut, sweeping aside concerns that Chinese censorship will hurt the growth of the country's Internet sector and broader worries about lofty tech-stock valuations.

INTERVIEW-SOMPO Japan Insurance and Nipponkoa Insurance, already run as one entity ahead of their merger in September, plan to invest "tens of billions of yen" in new areas such as energy, environment and infrastructure, mainly through private equity funds, company officials said.

AUSTRALIA ON Thursday appointed Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and Macquarie Capital as joint lead managers for the initial public offering of state-owned health insurer Medibank Private, tipped by local media to fetch about A$4 billion ($3.75 billion).

APRIL 16

ALIBABA GROUP Holding Ltd's IPO-ALIB.N revenue growth accelerated in the last quarter of 2013, a timely lift for the Chinese Internet company as it prepares to file a prospectus next week for its highly anticipated initial public offering.

SHASUN PHARMACEUTICALS Ltd said that private equity firm Ascent Capital Advisors India had taken a minority stake in Alivira Animal Health Limited, a joint venture with Sequent Scientific Ltd which develops, makes and sells veterinary products.

APRIL 15

GLOBAL PRIVATE equity firm Warburg Pincus and venture capital firm Matrix Partners China have agreed to invest $70 million into internet-based recruitment services company Liepin.com, the three companies said in a statement. (link.reuters.com/wet68v)

APRIL 14

MALAYSIA'S LARGEST asset manager Permodalan Nasional Bhd has partnered with Tokyo-based Inspire Corp to form Japan's first fund devoted to investing in Malaysian sharia-compliant firms.

POMONA CAPITAL said it has closed its eighth secondaries fund, Pomona Capital VIII at $1.75 billion. The fund was targeted at $1.3 billion and was oversubscribed, Pomona said. (link.reuters.com/bet68v)

PRIVATE EQUITY firm HarbourVest Partners said it had closed a $1 billion global direct co-investment fund which will focus predominantly on small and mid-market companies. The fund, HarbourVest Partners 2013 Direct Fund L.P., was oversubscribed and closed above its $750 million target. (link.reuters.com/bas58v)

THE GLOBAL private equity industry will focus more on emerging markets in coming years as Brazil and China become the leading global recipients of capital from the sector, said David Rubenstein, co-CEO of Carlyle.

CHINA-FOCUSED hospital operator Chindex International Inc received a buyout offer of $23 per share, higher than the $19.50 offered by TPG Capital and Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group in February.

TWO SENIOR executives of China's biggest pork producer WH Group Ltd received a combined $600 million payout for helping the Chinese company seal last year's record $4.9 billion takeover of U.S.-based Smithfield Foods Inc, an unusually high incentive for an acquisition.

HONY CAPITAL, the private-equity firm backed by Legend Holdings, is likely to deploy more capital in China's state-owned manufacturing and healthcare sectors as Beijing seeks to further restructure its government-owned companies.

CHINA QUANJUDE Group Co Ltd said it plans to issue up to 24.95 million shares at no lower than 14.03 yuan ($2.26) per share in a private placement, to raise up to 350 million yuan, and IDG Capital Partners will subscribe to 17.82 million shares. (Compiled by Stephen Aldred; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)