Kim leaves Carlyle to set up own fund

The former head of Carlyle Group’s Asian business has poached five Carlyle executives to set up his own $1.5bn buyout fund for the region.

Michael Kim, former managing director of The Carlyle Group’s Asian operations is to set up his own buyout fund, following his departure from Carlyle last week, according to a report in The Financial Times.

Kim, who was formerly based in Seoul, South Korea left Carlyle to “pursue private interests in the investment and public service arena”, according to a statement from the firm last week.

The new fund could be worth between $1 billion and $1.5 billion according to market sources, although Kim declined to disclose the exact size of the new vehicle to the Financial Times.

Kim has taken five Carlyle executives with him to set up the new fund, a quarter of the US group’s entire Asian staff. Kim told the Financial Times: “China, Japan and Korea are three of the top ten economies in the world and they represent three-quarters of GDP in the entire Asia Pacific. There are only half a dozen buyout firms competing and valuations are cheap.”

The departure comes as a blow to Carlyle, which last week announced the expansion of its pan-Asian investment presence. The firm will open new offices in Beijing, Mumbai and Sydney over the next three months. The firm’s Asian buyout fund will continue to be led by managing director Xiang-Dong Yang.

Carlyle has five Asian funds under management, totalling $1.6 billion. The firm currently operates from offices in Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo.