Korean ventures hopeful of greater investment as global PEFs up funding for non-China Asia

2021.11.18 13:44:08 | 2021.11.18 13:44:43

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South Korean enterprises are expectant of greater attention from multinational capital as they seek safer investment targets in Asia outside unpredictable China in nearly doubled ammunitions.

According to multiple sources from the investment bank industry on Wednesday, U.S.-headquartered PEF Texas Pacific Group (TPG) plans to scale up 8th Asia fund to $7 billion from the $4.5 billion precedent. It plans to pool in Korean big institutional investors such as the National Pension Service that had joined the No. 7 fund.

IT-focused TPG funds have invested hundreds of billions of won in Korean tech firms Kakao Mobility, Health Balance, and Nox Group.

The Carlyle Group led by Korean-American Lee Kew-song is readying to roll out up to $10 billion Asia Partners VI Fund next year, about 1.5 times larger than its previous fund in 2018. The PEF has invested extensively in Asian tech and bio startups, including China’s Tencent and Indian bio startups. It also invested funds in Korea’s KB Financial Group and Kakao Mobility.

Joseph Bae, a Korean American and co-president of KKR & Co., raised $15 billion in the first half of this year for Asia’s biggest fund. KKR invested about $1.3 billion in capital for the Asia IV Fund. In January, KKR also launched $3.9 billion Asia-Pacific infrastructure fund and $1.8 billion Asia property fund.

Blackstone also recently raised $5 billion for its second Asia fund after its first $2.3 billion in 2018.

Non-Chinese Asian tech names have become more familiar with international capital.

KKR recently bought SK Engineering & Construction Co.’s redeemable convertible preferred shares (RCPS) for 2.4 trillion won, beating out IMM PE and other candidates.

Korean e-commerce giant Coupang joined the New York Stock Exchange in March at nearly 100 trillion won in value. Southeast Asia’s biggest rideshare service platform Grab and Vietnam’s Amazon equivalent Tiki continue to draw foreign capital.

Among major Korean investment this year, C-Bridge Capital acquired Korean botox maker Hugel for 1.7 trillion won while Macquarie purchased real estate management division of S&I Corporation for 400 billion won.

By Kang Doo-soon, Park Chang-young, and Lee Eun-joo

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