Kim launches MBK Partners

Michael Kim, the former co-head of Asian buyouts at The Carlyle Group who quit the Washington DC-based firm earlier this year, has launched new private equity firm MBK Partners.

MBK Partners, a new private equity firm targeting buyouts in Asia, has been launched by The Carlyle Group émigré Michael Kim, according to a report in the Asia Private Equity Review.

The firm is understood to be in talks with potential investors, having reportedly set a target amount for its debut fund of $1 billion to $1.5 billion. It will target divestments from conglomerates, government privatisations and private company sales in Japan, China and Korea.

Kim was reported to have taken Carlyle by surprise when he announced his departure along with five colleagues in March. Having been appointed head of Korean buyouts at the firm in 1999, Kim went on to lead a number of seminal deals including a $412 million investment in KorAm Bank that was sold to Citigroup for $2.7 billion last year.    

Among those joining him at MBK is Kensuke Shizunaga, the former managing director of Carlyle’s Japan team. Shizunaga joined Carlyle in late 2000 and was responsible for its first investment in Japan, when it purchased a 90 percent stake in Daiei subsidiary ASS in January 2002. Also joining the team is K C Kung, who was previously a member of the Carlyle team in Singapore.

MBK is launching into an Asian buyout fundraising market that has developed a fair degree of momentum. After successful fundraisings by Hong Kong-based Affinity Equity Partners ($700 million) and Japan’s Unison Capital ($724 million) towards the end of last year, CVC Asia yesterday closed the largest Asia-focused fund ever raised on almost $2 billion.

At around the time of Kim’s departure, Carlyle announced it was opening new offices in Mumbai, Beijing and Sydney. It also announced that Gregory Zeluck was being promoted to co-head of Asian buyouts alongside XD Yang, with John Kwun moving up to become head of Korean buyouts.