MBK launches special sits platform

The North Asia-focused manager has hired former Deutsche Bank managing director Stephen Le as co-head of its debut credit and special situations unit.

MBK Partners, a North-Asia focused buyout firm, has hired Stephen Le to help lead its foray into credit and special situations.

Le, who joins as partner, and Seoul-based partner Jay H. Bu will co-head a newly launched fund which focuses on credit and special situations investments in Japan, Korea and China. This will be MBK’s first foray into special situations in Asia, a strategy that has in the last few years attracted interest from several pan-Asia players including PAG, Oaktree Capital and Samena Capital.

MBK declined to comment on fundraising.

Le worked at Deutsche Bank in Hong Kong for more than 15 years, most recently as managing director, head of Asia Pacific for credit trading, distressed products, structured financing and real estate, according to his LinkedIn profile. Earlier in his career, Le was an equity research analyst at Goldman Sachs.

MBK raised $4.1 billion in November last year for its latest buyout fund MBK Partners IV, exceeding its $3.5 billion target. The fund had an over 80 percent re-up rate from investors including Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Temasek Holdings and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. Its current portfolio includes industrial gas company Daesung Industrial Gases for about KRW 2 trillion ($1.8 billion; €1.5 billion); E-Land Modern House, the household and consumer goods unit of Korean retail giant E-Land Group for about KRW 710 billion; and Japanese pearl retailer Tasaki more than $250 million. The firm is also reportedly preparing to bid for language learning business Wall Street English.

Established in 2005 the firm, which has a total of $15 billion of assets under management, has 40 investment professionals operating out of offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul, and Tokyo.