KKR appoints China advisors
Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) has appointed two senior advisors in China including Liu Changzhi, president of Legend Holdings and former chairman and president of Lenovo Group (formerly known as Legend Group).
In 1984, Liu and colleagues, with initial capital of $25,000 from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, established Legend. The business made headlines when it acquired IBM’s personal computer business in 2004, to become the third-largest PC maker globally.
The other appointee is Edward Tian Suning, founder and chairman of China Broadband Capital Partners, China’s first government-sponsored TMT-focused private equity fund. Tian is also vicechairman and former CEO of China Netcom Group, the second-largest fixed line telecommunications operator in China.
The appointments came shortly after KKR appointed Sir John Bond, former group chairman of HSBC, to the firm. Bond, who had a 45-year career at HSBC, is credited with developing its businesses worldwide, particularly in Asia. The current chairman of Vodafone Group, Bond also chairs the Mayor of Shanghai’s International Business Leader Advisory Council.
Kleiner Perkins bolsters China resource
James Li, a former medical director at Merck & Co. in China, is the latest Chinese addition to Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers’ team.
Li joined the Menlo Park-based venture capital firm in October after 15 years at Merck. His hire follows Lee Ying, another partner who joined the venture capital firm earlier in 2006.
Li will be based in Kleiner’s US office but will spend much of his time in China.
Brook Byers, a Kleiner partner, told Dow Jones that Li’s relationships with scientists, doctors, medical networks, government officials and companies in China and other parts of Asia will enhance the firm’s ability to help US entrepreneurs.
Byers declined to say if the firm will open an office in China at some point in the future.
AlixPartners to ride India wave
AlixPartners, a US-based consulting firm whose presence in Asia is currently limited to Japan, is planning to establish an office in India in 2007. The firm has six offices in the US and five in Europe.
CV Ramachandran, a managing director based in the firm’s headquarters in Detroit, said Alix is well positioned to offer its restructuring expertise to “booming” India, where rapid growth is bringing increased financial and operational risk, as well as more complex webs of stakeholders.
Herbert Smith hires for new Dubai office
Herbert Smith, a UK law firm, is opening a new office in Dubai in early 2007 as part of its international expansion plans. It has recruited Zubair Mir and Nadim Khan, partners at Norton Rose in Dubai, to help establish the office.
Mir specialises in mergers and acquisitions, privatisations, investment funds, private equity and Islamic corporate finance. He was Norton Rose’s first head of corporate finance in Bahrain from 2001 to 2003. Khan is a finance lawyer and is head of Norton Rose’s banking practice in Dubai.
Neil Brimson, a partner at Herbert Smith and current head of the firm’s Paris projects group, will relocate to Dubai to head up the office. His focus is on major energy and infrastructure projects and project finance.
Bain appoints Japanese tech veteran
Boston-based Bain Capital has appointed technology veteran Nobuyoshi Yamanaka as an operating partner to help oversee the firm’s Japanese portfolio companies.
Yamanaka will also become the chairman of the board of Conlux, the Japanese subsidiary of MEI Conlux, a producer of unattended payment systems. In June, Bain and Advantage Partners, a Tokyo-based private equity firm founded by former Bain consultants, acquired MEI Conlux. The investment was Bain’s first in Asia.
There are over 30 professionals in Bain’s portfolio group globally, but Yamanaka’s appointment is its first in Asia. David Gross-Loh, managing director of Bain Capital in Tokyo, said there could be a further roll-out of this dedicated portfolio management team across Asia shortly.
Yamanaka was previously at Emerson Electric Japan and GE Hitachi Lighting, where he served as president and chief executive officer.
Green joins Barwon as third partner
Andrew Green, who until recently was chief executive officer at the Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, has joined Sydney-based alternative investments manager, Barwon Investment Partners. Green’s resignation from AVCAL came after almost eight years.
Barwon, launched earlier this year by founding partners Sam Armstrong and Rob Morrison, is raising a fund which has the capacity to absorb up to A$1 billion ($780 million), to be invested in global listed private equity funds. Armstrong said the firm’s target clientele are Australia-based funds.
Armstrong was formerly a partner at Quay Partners, an Australian fund of funds manager, and head of alternative investments at Macquarie Funds Management. He said Green will be followed by a fourth partner who is currently working out his notice period and will come on board in January.
Morrison is the former director of Asian investments for Australia’s AMP Capital Investors. Before that, he was head of property for the same group.
Navis expansion gathers speed
Navis Capital Partners has recently recruited Scott Wilson as a food portfolio director based in Bangkok – where the private equity firm has two fast food investments – and Koh Eu-Jin, as an investment manager in Kuala Lumpur.
Wilson brings more than 20 years’ experience in restaurant and delivery concepts and franchise operations for a number of brands including Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Applebees and The Pizza Company.
Nicholas Bloy, Malaysia-based founding partner of Navis, said the appointments are part of the firm’s continuing hiring process. It will add two more analysts to its 33-strong team, which Bloy expects to grow to 40 in 2007 and 46 by 2008. At the end of 2005, the firm had 27 investment professionals.
ABN AMRO expands Asia financial sponsor coverage
Sander Boekema has been appointed as head of ABN AMRO’s Financial Sponsor Group in Asia to lead a team dedicated to covering global financial sponsors in the region from Hong Kong. Boekema brings 14 years of banking experience including mergers and acquisitions advisory.
Boekema said the bank has seen tremendous growth in European financial sponsor business over the last five years, and expects to replicate its European experience in Asia.
ABN AMRO has a total of nine professionals in Asia dedicated to financial sponsors in various product and coverage groups. The Dutch bank recently advised and financed CVC Asia Pacific on the leveraged acquisition of China’s