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Blackstone to step up $9.4 bil. buying in Asia

Bloomberg HONG KONG (Bloomberg) — Blackstone Group LP said it will accelerate its Asia-Pacific investments after raising a combined $9.4 billion from two funds dedicated to the region.

The New York-based alternative asset manager will have $15 billion to deploy to real estate, private equity and other opportunities in Asia once money from its global funds is included, according to Jonathan Gray, Blackstone’s president and chief operating officer.

“The combination of underlying growth in China and India and the opening of Japan to foreign capital gets us excited,” Gray said in an interview, referring to the increasing willingness of Japanese entrepreneurs to accept investment from overseas private equity firms. As the Asia-Pacific market matures “the opportunities for us to execute our strategy in private equity go up,” he added.

The U.S. firm announced Wednesday it raised $7.1 billion for its second Asian real estate fund and $2.3 billion for its first regional buyout fund. It joins global rivals such as Carlyle Group LP, TPG and KKR & Co., which have been raising large amounts for Asian buyouts as opportunities emerge in markets ranging from China to India and Japan.

Blackstone expects to raise the proportion of Asian investment in its total business from slightly less than 10 percent at present, with a particular focus on opportunities in China, Gray said.

“Blackstone has quietly built up a very large Asia business and has the intention to build something even bigger going forward,” said Gray. “Long term, given the scale of the Chinese economy, that obviously has most white space.”

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