Carlyle Hires Sanghyun Lee Away from Affinity

The Carlyle Group has hired Sanghyun Lee away from buyout fund Affinity Equity Partners, tapping him to lead its Korean investments, Reuters reported Monday. Lee, a Korean native who led such investments as Korean skincare company TheFaceShop for Affinity, will be a Seoul-based managing director for Carlyle Asia Partners, Reuters reported.

(Reuters) – Global private equity fund Carlyle Group has hired dealmaker Sanghyun Lee from pan-Asia buyouts fund Affinity Equity Partners to lead its Korean investments, Carlyle said in a statement on Monday.

Lee, a Korean native who led such investments as Korean skincare company TheFaceShop for Affinity, will be a Seoul-based managing director for Carlyle Asia Partners.

Affinity’s TheFaceShop deal generated about four times return and many of the firm’s other Korea investments have produced similar returns for its investors.

X.D. Yang, managing director and co-head of Carlyle Asia Partners, said the hire “reflects our strong commitment to invest in Korea.”

Before joining Affinity, Lee was with sovereign wealth fund Government of Singapore Investment Corp (GIC), in charge of its private equity investments in Korea, and before that was a management consultant with McKinsey & Co in Seoul.

Carlyle’s previous investments in Korea include KorAm Bank. Carlyle invested $430 million in the bank with JP Morgan in 2000 and sold it in 2004 to Citigroup for $2.73 billion.

The pan-Asia fund Affinity’s investment in 2005 in Korean consumer electronics retailer Hi-Mart Co is among the most profitable private equity deals ever in Asia. An initial investment of $200 million returned around $2.1 billion, a source with direct knowledge of the matter previously told Reuters.

The Carlyle Group is a global alternative asset manager with approximately $153 billion of assets under management across 86 funds and 49 fund of fund vehicles. (By Stephen Aldred)