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Report: Cerberus eyes Chinese investments

The chairman of the New York-based alternative asset manager said the firm is building an operating team in China and downplayed problems with its Chrysler and GMAC deals.

Cerberus Capital Management said it will take a gradual approach to investing in China, establishing a name for the New York-based firm before making its first investment.

Despite opening offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong chairman John Snow told The Wall Street Journal that Cerberus wants to understand the country’s investment climate before committing capital.

“We’re just beginning [in China],” the former US Treasury Secretary said. “We’re taking a patient, long-term approach.”

The first step is to build an operating team, which it is doing now, he said. Once that is in place, “we’ll be in a position to begin to really explore things,” he added.

Snow also said problems with two of its biggest investments, Chrysler, the US car maker, and GMAC, the financial services arm of General Motors, were not impacting its ability to do deals. “We’re in a position to make any acquisition of virtually any size that comes along and makes sense of us. We’re actually more liquid than we’ve been in a long time.”

In relation to China, Snow went on to say the firm would make “sizable investments” in due course including joint ventures and co-investments with Chinese companies.

Cerberus, which, according to people familiar with the matter, is raising up to $3 billion for its second real estate fund, has primarily focused on US investments.