AEA to open up in Hong Kong

US alternative investment specialist AEA Holdings is establishing offices in Hong Kong where newly-appointed Bill Owens, former Nortel CEO, will oversee investment opportunities across non-Japan Asia.

US investment group AEA Holdings has hired the former CEO of Nortel to be based in Hong Kong, from where the firm’s new operations in China, India and Southeast Asia will be spearheaded. Bill Owens will be responsible for overseeing investment opportunities across alternative asset classes in the region, according to a statement.

AEA Holdings, headquartered in New York, was formed by the merger last year of property investor and hedge fund of fund managers Aetos Capital with buyout firm AEA Investors.

Combined, the firm has over $9 billion of assets under management, 245 employees and offices in New York, London, Tokyo, Osaka, Menlo Park, and Stamford.

AEA is expected to set up its Hong Kong presence in the summer, said a company official who added that some six to eight professionals will be looking at private equity investment opportunities from the new office.

Owens was CEO of Nortel until November 2005 and prior to that a senior officer at the US Joint Chiefs of Staff following a long military career.

In the statement, Vincent A. Mai and John L. Garcia, Chairman and CEO respectively of AEA Investors, said: “Bill brings much to our enterprise, including strong relationships throughout the Asia region, strategic insight and business acumen, and a keen eye for opportunities that will benefit investors.”

AEA Investors was originally named Amercian European Associates, was founded in 1968 by a number of wealthy families including the Rockefellers, the Mellons and the Harrimans as well as S.G. Warburg & Co.