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Hedgemedia’s AltInvestment Global News Round-Up: Blackstone recruit Nieman seeks up to USD1bn for Asian fund launch

Blackstone Group’s planned Asia fund will launch in October with up to USD1bn.

Blackstone Group’s planned Asia fund will launch in October with up to USD1bn. Aaron Nieman, who previously worked at SAC Capital Management’s San Francisco unit, Canvas Capital Management, will run the newly-established Hong Kong-based hedge fund manager Blackstone Altius Advisors.

The private equity firm will initially invest USD150 million of its own money in the event-driven fund. Meanwhile, Blackstone is also raising USD1bn in venture capital to build health care facilities across the Middle East. The deal will be the first of its kind for Blackstone, which manages investments in hedge funds, private equity, real estate and debt.

Brevan Howard, the UK firm run by star Credit Suisse alumnus Alan Howard, has raised USD1bn from the initial public offering of BH Global, double its initial target. Brevan Howard raised nearly the same amount of money last year for its BH Macro fund.

BlackRock has completed the USD15bn acquisition of sub-prime and Alt-A US residential mortgage-backed securities from UBS, using USD3.75bn raised from investors and a USD11.25bn loan facility provided by UBS. BlackRock will manage the assets through a new distressed fund.

Real estate investment trust Boston Properties will buy the General Motors Building and three other assets in Manhattan for USD3.95bn. The closing will occur in multiple stages starting June 2008.

JPMorgan Asset Management has raised USD600m for its Greater China Property Fund, which will invest in China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. JPMorgan’s Hong Kong team, led by Asian real estate investment chief David Chen and portfolio manager Douglas Sung, have already closed three deals for the fund. JPMorgan raised USD360m for its India property fund in 2006.

Fund of funds operator Financial Risk Management, which manages USD15bn in assets, plans to open offices in Hong Kong and Seoul to complement its existing Asia-Pacific presence in Tokyo and Sydney

London-based BlueCrest Capital Management has opened outposts in Boston, New York and Singapore. The firm says its assets under management have risen USD2.5bn to USD14.6bn.

GLG Partners has recruited Warren Touwen as a portfolio manager. Touwen, who previously managed market-neutral portfolios at Merrill Lynch, will now manage the GLG Esprit Fund with Simon Savage and Peter Harnett.

Hunter Shivley, joint global head of UBS’s commodities business, will in the coming weeks join Sasco Energy Partners, a new Westport, Connecticut-based start-up launched by Sempra Energy Trading co-founder Todd Esse. Shivley worked at UBS since 2004. Todd Morakis, who oversees the unit with Shivley, will now run the unit on his own.

Private equity firm Permira has tapped Riccardo Ruggiero, who was previously Telecom Italia’s chief executive, as a senior advisor. He will help Permira select investments, especially in the telecommunications, media and technology sectors.

Former hedge fund manager Kirk Wright, who was convicted last week of running an investment scheme that lost his clients millions of dollars, hanged himself in a suburban Atlanta jail. His clients included six former American football stars, who have sued the National Football League and its players’ union for negligently endorsing Wright. The Securities and Exchange Commission had brought a USD20m suit against the manager.

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