24 October 2017 – Voz Pópuli
The investment giant KKR is multiplying its commitment to Spain. The US fund is on the verge of signing two operations, which will see it obtain real influence in the property and financial sectors. Moreover, it is participating in other major processes to purchase portfolios of banking assets, such as Project Invictus, although Bain Capital is expected to be victorious in that case.
The next operation to be signed in the market is the deal involving Hipoges. And according to financial sources consulted by Vozpópuli, KKR has imposed itself in the sales process of that recovery and real estate asset management platform, which was founded in 2008 by former directors of Lehman Brothers.
KKR’s offer has convinced the vendors – comprising the main directors and the fund Cerberus, which holds a 40% stake – ahead of the bid submitted by the British group Cabot. Sources in the market estimate that the price will amount to €25 million – €30 million in the end.
With the purchase of Hipoges, KKR will be able to compete on equal terms to acquire large portfolios of problem assets from the banks. In this regard, four large funds dominate the market: Blackstone, owner of the platform Anticipa and now Aliseda; Apollo, which controls Altamira; Cerberus, a shareholder of Haya Real Estate; and Lone Star, the main investor in Neinor. KKR is led in Spain by Jesús Olmos and Alejo Vidal-Quadras (pictured above).
Other funds in this league include TPG, which owns 51% of Servihabitat, although it has maintained a rather low profile in recent months; and Oaktree, which manages its assets through Sabal Financial.
What is Hipoges?
Hipoges is one of the main independent servicers, alongside Finsolutia, TDX Indigo and Copernicus. It has 200 employees across four countries and it manages loans and properties worth €8,000 million.
On the other hand, KKR is currently finalising the takeover of the Australian firm, the Pepper Group. That consumer financing institution has a lot of activity in Spain, through 300 employees, and has just made the leap into traditional banking with the acquisition of a small Portuguese entity, which also has a branch in Madrid: Banco Primus. As such, Pepper will soon start to grant mortgages in Spain.
Pepper was one of Banco Popular’s partners, in one of the last alliances to be signed by Ángel Ron; however, it only lasted for a few months until Emilio Saracho broke off the agreement.
The group will be an investee company and so the executives of KKR are not expected to get involved in the management of the company beyond sitting on the Board of Directors of the holding company in Australia. Even so, Vidal-Quadras has participated in the operation to value the business in Spain, and so his opinion will be taken into account when determining the financial entity’s strategy.
Original story: Voz Pópuli (by Jorge Zuloaga)
Translation: Carmel Drake