Warburg Pincus to increase its stake in Singapore’s ARA Asset Management to up to 48.7%

Jeffrey Perlman (right) and John Lim (left) at DealStreetAsia's Asia PE-VC Summit 2019. Photo: DealStreetAsia

Global private equity firm Warburg Pincus will substantially increase its ownership in Singapore-based property manager ARA Asset Management to up to 48.7 per cent from 30.7 per cent.

The changes in shareholding will follow a series of secondary transactions that are expected to complete by May 31, 2021,  according to a press statement.

Along with Warburg Pincus, the other shareholders, namely Singapore’s businessman John Lim, Hong Kong-listed property developer CK Asset Holdings (CKAH) and Singapore’s conglomerate The Straits Trading will also increase their ownership. John Lim will hold ARA’s shares through wholly-owned vehicles, JL Investment Group II Limited and JL Investment Group.

These shareholders will together hold 51.3 per cent of the issued shares of ARA following the secondary transactions.

AVIC Trust, the Chinese state investment vehicle, has exited as ARA’s shareholder with this secondary transaction.

Warburg Pincus will use its strong capital base to help the business become the largest real estate fund management platform in the Asia Pacific and one of the largest globally, said Jeffrey Perlman, managing director and Southeast Asia head at Warburg Pincus.

In the end of 2016, Warburg Pincus, together with AVIC Trust-the Chinese state investment vehicle, led a consortium to conduct a $1.28-billion leveraged buyout of ARA. The consortium also included the existing controlling shareholders of ARA – John Lim, The Straits Trading Company, and CK Asset Holdings (CKAH).

Following the 2016 deal, Warburg Pincus owned a 30.7 per cent stake in ARA. The deal was followed by ARA’s delisting from SGX in April 2017.

Subsequently, ARA expanded to global real estate markets such as Japan, Australia, Europe and the US. The company also pursues organic growth opportunities across multiple sectors.

While REITs and private real estate funds are its investment mainstays, ARA has diversified into infrastructure, logistics, real estate credit and real estate fintech. The company recently acquired Asia Pacific’s logistics real estate platform LOGOS in a deal that will support the Group in the fast-growing sector, seen as one of the biggest beneficiaries post COVID-19.

ARA Group recorded a total S$88 billion of gross assets under management (AUM) by December 2019, from S$35 billion in December 2016. The company has a footprint across 100 cities in 28 countries.

Jones Day acted as the legal advisor, meanwhile, Goldman Sachs (Singapore) and DBS Bank Ltd acted as joint financial advisors to the consortium. Deloitte & Touche Corporate Finance Pte Ltd acted as independent financial advisor to ARA.

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.

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.