Wolfensohn's man in Asia

Sanjiv Kapur, the former head of Asian private equity at Henderson Private Capital, is returning to the industry with a new mission in Singapore.

Sanjiv Kapur is returning to private equity investing in Asia. The former head of Asia at Henderson Private Capital has joined Wolfensohn & Company, a corporate advisory and investment firm in New York.

Wolfensohn & Co is the investment vehicle of James Wolfensohn, the former chairman and president of The World Bank Group who last year was appointed a senior strategy advisor to Citigroup.

Kapur and Wolfensohn first met during Kapur's ten-year stint at the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in the 1990s, the World Bank subsidiary focused on providing development capital to businesses in emerging market economies. In 1999, Kapur left the IFC to join Henderson in Singapore.

There, he helped initiate Henderson's Asian private equity operations and led the raising and subsequent deployment of Henderson Asia Pacific Equity Partners I fund, a 2001 vintage fund that drew $210 million in commitments.

Since signing up with Wolfensohn, Kapur has set up an office in Singapore. In September, he recruited Sarvesh Srivastava, a former McKinsey consultant and investment banker in New York, and Sally Ng, who has worked for DB Zwirn, a hedge fund, and prior to that for Goldman Sachs.

Investments would be initially funded from Wolfensohn & Company's balance sheet, Kapur said in an interview.

Commenting on market conditions in Asia's private equity markets, Kapur said he was optimistic, even though there was currently some excess capital in the region. ?Supply creates demand,? he said, adding that industry sectors not previously considered by private equity groups were now becoming available to help absorb any surplus capital.

Kapur named retail, green technology, healthcare, medical tourism and infrastructure as examples of industries that were becoming increasingly open to private equity finance.

Citigroup raided in Korea
Korean prosecutors raided the Seoul office of Citigroup Global Markets, the investment banking unit of Citigroup, on 16 October, according to media reports. The search was part of an ongoing investigation into alleged irregularities behind the sale of Korea Exchange Bank to Texas-based Lone Star in 2003.

?Citigroup Global Markets acquired the securities firm Salomon Smith Barney (SSB), which managed the merger between KEB and its credit card unit, so the company is now a target of our investigation,? said Chae Dong-wook, a senior prosecutor of the Supreme Prosecutors' Office, quoted as saying in The Korea Times.

?We sent four prosecutors and 20 investigators to the company in the morning and retrieved three boxes worth of documents and a computer,? Chae Dong-wook said.

The prosecution said it is also looking into suspicions that government officials peddled influence to help Lone Star acquire the bank at a below-market price.

Pierce becomes head of Squadron
David Pierce will become chief executive officer of Squadron Capital Group, a newly formed private equity subsidiary of Search Investment Group, the private investment company owned by Robert Miller. Miller is the founder of DFS, a Hong Kong-based global retailer that caters to the travelling public.

Pierce has been responsible for Search's private equity programme and direct investment portfolio since he joined the family office in 2001. According to Search, the global private equity funds portfolio under his management has achieved a gross IRR of approximately 37 percent.

Squadron was established to manage a fund of Asia private equity funds for thirdparty investors.

In the past, Pierce also serves as a senior managing director of SAIL Advisors, a subsidiary of Search Investment Group focused on hedge funds. Search recently underwent a restructuring to separate the management of its private equity and hedge fund investments. As a result, Eliza Lau will become chief executive officer for SAIL, which was established in 2003.