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Private equity: Darby to launch $1 billion global emerging markets fund

Leading US private equity firm Darby Overseas Investments is poised to begin pre-marketing on a global emerging markets fund that will have a heavy focus on Asian investments.

The firm, which was founded by former US treasury secretary Nicholas Brady, hopes to raise at least $1 billion for the fund, of which half will be invested in Asia. The rest will be split between investments in Latin America and central and eastern Europe.

Richard Frank, managing director at Darby, says that the fund, which is at “the design stage”, will invest in both private equity and mezzanine finance opportunities, largely in middle- and late-stage companies and across sectors such as infrastructure and financial institutions. The Asia portion will invest mostly in China, India and Korea, although Frank adds that it will also consider allocating capital to southeast Asia on an opportunistic basis. “The fund would have flexibility over time,” he says. Although no specific timetable has been set, Frank hopes the fund will close in six to nine months.

Capability

The former World Bank official reckons that Darby is one of the few private equity firms that has the capabilities to run a global emerging markets fund. The private equity player, which is owned by Franklin Templeton Investments, has offices throughout the world and already manages 14 funds in the developing world. Most of these have a regional focus.

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