Warburg-backed ARA Asset Management weighs $1b dual listing

Suntec Singapore photo from ARA Asset Management's website.

ARA Asset Management Ltd., a real estate investment firm backed by Warburg Pincus LLC, is weighing a dual listing plan that could raise at least $1 billion as soon as this year, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The firm, which also counts Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing as an investor, is working with advisers on a plan to list in Hong Kong and Singapore, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. The asset manager is leaning toward a Hong Kong offering before a share sale in Singapore, they said.

Warburg Pincus currently owns 48.7% of ARA after buying AVIC Trust’s stake last year. The New York-based buyout firm in 2016 led a group, including ARA founder John Lim and AVIC Trust, to take the then-Singapore listed investment company private. Li’s CK Asset Holdings Ltd. and affiliates of Straits Trading Co. were part of the consortium. Lim said at the time that his company was “undervalued” on the Singapore exchange.

Following the privatization, ARA has been bulking up its business via acquisitions. The investment firm in 2018 agreed to purchase a 19.5% stake in Cromwell Property Group and subsequently launched a hostile campaign to replace several of the Australian property manager’s board members last year. It also bought Robinson Centre, a 20-story office building located along Robinson Road within Singapore’s central business district in 2019.

ARA had S$119 billion ($90 billion) in gross assets under management as of the end of 2020. It manages listed and unlisted real estate investment trusts, private real estate equity and credit funds and infrastructure funds in 28 countries, according to its website.

Deliberations for the share sale are ongoing and details such as the fundraising size and the timing may change, the people said. ARA could decide to list in only one of the venues, they said. Representatives for ARA and Warburg Pincus declined to comment. A representative for CK Asset Holdings didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Bloomberg

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.