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Hedgemedia’s AltInvestment Global News Round-Up: KKR uses Amsterdam-listed fund to fulfil ambition to go public

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Buyout specialist Kohlberg Kravis Roberts is going public and is moving into real estate and long-only equity funds.

Buyout specialist Kohlberg Kravis Roberts is going public and is moving into real estate and long-only equity funds. Established by Henry Kravis, his cousin George Roberts and the soon-to-depart Jerome Kohlberg in 1976 and made famous by its daring hostile acquisition of conglomerate RJR Nabisco three years later, KKR has announced plans to float itself in a transaction that also bails out investors in the Amsterdam-listed buyout fund it launched in May 2006.

New shares exchanged for those of shareholders in Guernsey-domiciled KKR Private Equity Investors, whose price had more than halved since its listing on Euronext Amsterdam before a 32 per cent uplift on the news, will trade on the New York Stock Exchange when the deal is completed in the fourth quarter. KKR is following in the footsteps of Blackstone Group, the world’s largest private equity firm, which held an initial public offering last June – although its share price has also languished.

Newport Beach, California-based bond investment giant Pacific Investment Management Company, known as Pimco, is stepping into the exchange-traded fund business. The firm’s initial ETF will follow the Lehman Brothers US Aggregate Index, a broad bond market benchmark, although the timing of the launch remains unclear. Pimco manages around USD830bn in assets.

US regulators are planning to tighten rules governing short sales across the market in general after taking emergency measures to protect a number of prominent financial institutions. The Securities and Exchange Commission is discussing changes that would require disclosure of significant short sales, similar to required disclosures of long positions. Last week the SEC barred ‘naked shorting’ – short-selling without having arranged to borrow the stock in question – of Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and 17 primary dealers under an emergency order subsequently extended until August 12.

South Carolina Retirement System has announced a tie-up with D.E. Shaw that will allow the USD29bn pension scheme to co-invest with the alternative investment manager. The deal will cover include private equity, real estate, long-only, 130/30 and absolute return products. The South Carolina fund last month struck a USD1.5bn partnership with Goldman Sachs Asset Management, its largest arrangement with an alternative investment manager to date, and it has a similar USD1bn investment deal with JPMorgan.

The USD3bn San José Police & Fire Department Retirement Plan will begin searching for hedge and private equity funds within the next few months. The pension scheme has a five per cent allocation to absolute return strategies.

Marshall Wace, a London-based hedge fund manager with USD15bn in assets, has hired Amit Rajpal, who was previously Asian head of proprietary trading at Morgan Stanley. He will now start a financials hedge fund with USD200m.

Hedge fund assets in Singapore more than doubled to USD59bn at the end of last year, and the number of hedge fund managers established in the city-state rose 50 per cent to 300, according to the financial industry regulator, the Singapore Monetary Authority.

Sorin Capital of Stamford, Connecticut, which specializes in real estate debt and asset-backed securities, has named Brian DeDonato as senior partner. He was previously president and investment chief at USD10.3bn real estate securities manager Capmark Investments. Founded by Jim Higgins, Sorin Capital now manages USD1.4bn in fixed-income and real estate securities investments.

Société Générale has hired Grégoire Déchy to the newly-created position of head of hedge fund relations for the Asia-Pacific region. He was formerly head of Asia-Pacific business and product development for brokerage Newedge, a position he took up with predecessor company Fimat in 2005. He now reports to global co-heads of hedge fund relations Paul Wiltshire in London and Pascal Vallot in New York, as well as De Doan Tran, head of SocGen’s corporate and investment banking in Asia.

The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority has reported that 10,037 investment funds were registered in the jurisdiction at the end of June, representing growth of 12 per cent from a year earlier.

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