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Investcorp: The house that Kirdar built

Bahrain’s Investcorp has carved out a solid reputation over the past 30 years, but how is its founder preparing the firm for the future?

Nemir Kirdar, chairman and chief executive of Investcorp
Nemir Kirdar, chairman and chief executive of Investcorp

High-profile Middle East investors picking up trophy assets are a mainstay of the market in such cities as London, Paris and New York these days. What is less often remarked on are the low-key Gulf buyers, content to undertake investment without making a song and dance about it. But for the past 30 years that is what Bahrain-based Investcorp has been doing, ever since it took a stake in the Manulife Plaza, an office building in Los Angeles in 1983. The company, which calls itself a bank but is really more a combination of hedge fund and mid-market private equity house, also has offices in London and New York, and likes to think of itself as a bridge between the surplus wealth of the Gulf and the investment opportunities of the west.

When in Europe or the US, Investcorp likes to blend in rather than stand out. That much is obvious from the look and feel of its office on Grosvenor Street in London’s Mayfair.

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