Apollo enters Australia

The private equity giant has expanded its franchise with the purchase of a 20 percent stake in Australia-based Argonaut, which will help Apollo source natural resources deals.

The Apollo Asia Opportunity Master Fund has taken a 20 percent shareholding in Perth, Australia-based investment bank Argonaut Limited.

The two firms have also entered a strategic alliance in relation to Argonaut’s new merchant banking business, Argonaut Equity Partners. Argonaut Equity conducts operations in bridge, mezzanine and hybrid financing, special situations and principal investments.

Argonaut executive chairman Charles Fear expressed his excitement in a statement that a private equity firm as prestigious as Apollo had chosen to partner with natural resource-focussed Argonaut for its first Australian venture.

“Argonaut provides Apollo with a strong presence in the natural resources sector and access to high quality technical expertise and Australian deal flow,” said Argonaut managing director Eddie Rigg in a statement.

Apollo’s investment in Argonaut is consistent with the firm’s regional strategy of sourcing unique deal flow through local relationships, Apollo portfolio manager Tan Chin Hwee said according to the same statement.

The Apollo Asia Opportunity Master Fund is an Apollo Management Asia-focussed investment fund. Apollo has over $41 billion (€26.7 billion) and is currently raising $15 billion for the Apollo Investment Fund VII according to the Probitas 2008 Private Equity Deskbook.