Scott Hahn eyes $750m Korea fund

The former managing director and head of Korea for Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia has secured Temasek as a cornerstone investor, sources say.

Scott Hahn, the former managing director and chief investment officer of Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia (MSPEA), is raising a South Korea-focused private equity fund, several industry sources have told PEI Asia. Singaporean sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings has committed to be a cornerstone investor to the fund, the sources added.

Hahn could not be reached for comment. Temasek declined to comment when approached.

Hahn, who left MSPEA in May this year, is targeting $750 million for the fund, according to one source. Temasek’s commitment to the fund will be $250 million, the same source added.

Seoul-based Hahn joined MSPEA in 1994 and led the firm’s transactions in South Korea – historically a favoured destination for the firm alongside China – in addition to his role as the chief investment officer of the entire Asian business.

MSPEA opened an office in Seoul in 2000, where Hahn led investments in such companies as Landmark Investment Trust Company, an asset management firm which it sold to ING in 2008; Ssangyong Corporation, a trading company; Hyundai Rotem, a joint venture with the Hyundai Motor Group, which manufactures engineering equipment, railway carriages and defence equipment and tanks; and Jeonju Paper, (formerly Norske Skog Korea), a manufacturer of newsprint and specialised paper.

Hahn is the latest in a long line of professionals to have built a track record and name at a Western-headquartered private equity firm before leaving to set up on their own.

Within Korea itself, the country’s most prominent private equity firm, MBK Partners, was formed in 2005 following the defection of six members of The Carlyle Group’s Asian buyout team, led by former team co-head Michael Kim. Temsaek also backed that spin-out, committing $500 million to the new venture alongside $250 million from Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, it was reported at the time.

Elsewhere in Asia, anticipation recently centered on the plans of Weijian Shan, a former partner at TPG Capital and its leading deal maker in China, who left the firm in June this year. Shan ultimately surprised the industry by joining local firm Pacific Alliance Group as chairman and CEO rather than fundraising independently. The firm has subsequently launched an Asia-focused buyout fund.