Ares buys into Asia-focused SSG Capital

Ares Management inks a big Asia-focused deal and KKR closes its second tech growth fund.

Morning Hubskis!

If you had a long weekend, hope you enjoyed it.

Breaking deal this morning involves Ares Management agreeing to buy a controlling stake in Hong Kong-based SSG Capital. The deal is expected to close in the second or third quarter. Check out our news brief here.

SSG Capital managed about $6.2 billion as of Sept. 30, 2019. It focuses on credit and special situations investments. SSG Capital was formed in 2009 by former Lehman Brothers executives Edwin Wong, Shyam Maheshwari and Andreas Vourloumis to make credit and special situations investments in Asia. The partners pursued a similar strategy at Lehman Brothers Asia Special Situations Group, according to an investment memo from Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System.

Late last year, SSG Capital closed its fifth special situations fund on $2.7 billion, Private Debt International reported in December. It raised $1.2 billion for its fourth special situations fund in 2017.

Ares presumably wants to tap into SSG’s local access to developing capital markets in Asia. The firm has both the scope to cover the region, with nine offices across Asia/Pacific, as well as local licenses and infrastructure that allows the firm to take advantage of opportunities with local investor protections, “which are usually not available to foreign parties,” according to the PA Public Schools investment memo.

Ares is taking a page from Blackstone Group, which over the years has bought itself expertise in areas into which it wanted to expand.

Search: Kohlberg Kravis Roberts recently closed its second tech growth fund. The firm’s head of tech growth equity, Dave Welsh, recently sat down with Milana Vinn from PE Hub to talk about the new pool. Significantly, the firm will keep looking outside the traditional tech hubs like Silicon Valley and Boston for opportunities, Welsh said.

“What we are seeing is a lot of the talent moving outside of these tech hubs. There is also so much more engineering talent graduating schools throughout America: in the Midwest, in the Southeast,” Welsh said. “In Europe, the tech hub was traditionally the UK. Now you see tons of companies started in Berlin, Paris, or in the Nordic region.”

KKR found its first deal in the fund in Tampa Bay, where it acquired cybersecurity training company KnowBe4. Check out Milana’s story here.

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Harvest Partners is joining TA Associates and GI Partners as an investor in MRI Software in a deal valued north of $3 billion, Sarah Pringle writes on PE Hub. Read it here.

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