Lev Fin -> PE in Asia

I understand that there has been a lot of halo placed on Lev Fin group in the U.S.. However, for those who aim for PE in Asia, is it necessarily wise to start at BB Lev Fin (in NYC), given that the debt market is so undeveloped and heavily regulated in Asia, more specifically, East Asia region? KKR/Carlyle do have Asia Buyout Fund in Asia as far as I know, but the dominate theme there is growth instead of buyout from what I have heard. Any insight will be appreciated.

Comments (6)

Jul 22, 2013 - 2:21pm

You need to be fluent in both Mandarin/English as they do both cross border AND domestic deals. Any group will do as long as you can express your passion for working in Asia IN THE LONG RUN, but preference is for M&A and LevFin.

Calm down.
Aug 7, 2013 - 12:00am

lev fin experience will be useful but only to a limited extent (i.e. transaction modeling, financing process). most analysts coming out of hk ibd programs are pretty weak at modeling (there are exceptions) due to capital markets intensive deal flow, so you have an advantage in that regard. that said, to put things in perspective, your ability to diligence potential opportunities (this is where language & culture comes in) and present your thoughts are enormously more important as a pe analyst/associate in asia, so having lev fin experience is a plus but only a very small part of the puzzle.

Jul 22, 2013 - 5:30pm

You probably stated East Asia for anonymity purposes but do note that East Asian countries differ greatly from one another; i.e. China vs. South Korea vs. Japan. They may present similarities within but you will not be able to do cross border deals as easily as you would within the US or Europe. This is a huge reason why private equity in Asia remains somewhat underdeveloped in comparison with the Western counterparts.

Growth equity is also a larger focus simply because you will be hard-pressed to find a company within the bite-size of a megafund to execute a buyout simply because the company will either be (a) state-owned or (b) family-owned. Both will rarely be willing to let go of the majority/controlling stake.

There is a reason why debt markets are not as developed - (a) investors do not understand complicated debt instruments and (b) the market tends to not appreciate complicated debt structures within the corporates. Especially after what happened post Lehman, business owners are shying away further from complicated financial debt engineering.

Frankly, whilst a relevant group within a BB has a generally higher chance in megafund placements, your experience in NY will be pretty useless in China. It's simple really - why would I hire someone who comes from halfway around the world? You would not understand the business culture, the transactional requirements, etc. Many people say that you only need English to work in HK, and that is true. But if you are intending to do private equity in Asia, you have to know the native language (which are numerous as mentioned in the first point). Take China for an example: Do you know how to intepret an annual report (10-k equivalent) that is reported in Mandarin?

If your question was directed to the "is it possible?" section, then the standard "yes but it's going to be an uphill battle" answer stands.

Jul 24, 2013 - 12:35pm

for KKR/BX/Carlyle type buyout funds in China/HK the typical profile is a candidate that worked 2-3 years in BB IBD in HK/Beijing

M&A is good, or industry groups such as consumer/industrial/TMT/etc

Language is extremely important, pretty much everyone (junior) is a native Chinese/Korean/Indonesian speaker

the easiest way is to look up on linkedin the profiles of associates in the funds you are interested in

Feb 25, 2016 - 11:56am
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