Hong Kong: Citigroup on Friday said it hired Chris Gammons from rival Deutsche Bank as a managing director focused on covering Asia’s fast-growing private equity firms, which have become big fee-payers in the region.
The hire is a coup for Citigroup, which recently lost its well-regarded head of regional M&A, Gordon Paterson, to Deutsche.
The German bank made a recent splash with a string of senior executive hires, including the head of financial sponsors coverage from UBS, which itself has been putting more emphasis on private equity and leverage finance coverage.
Private equity firms, also known as financial sponsors, accounted for 7% of non-Japan Asia Pacific M&A activity in the first quarter, with some $7.2 billion (Rs29,829 crore) worth of deals, according to data from Dealogic. They paid a record $442 million in investment banking fees last year.
Carlyle, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Bain Capital are among the cash-rich firms hunting for investment opportunities in Asia’s fast-growing economies.
Most firms are focused on India and China, but deals in those markets have been harder to come by, pushing a lot of the buyout activity to places like Australia and Taiwan, where private equity capital is more welcome.
Investment banks including Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley have been ramping up their teams catering to buyout houses, which raised $32 billion for Asian investments last year, according to the Asian Venture Capital Journal.
Gammons, who has spent 12 years in Asia, joins from Deutsche Bank where he was a managing director for debt products and head of leveraged finance for Asia.
He will report to Chris Laskowski, who heads up Citigroup’s Asia financial entreprenuers group. Laskowski told Reuters in February that he was planning to hire four bankers for his group this year, doubling the unit’s total to eight.
Working closely with Citigroup’s leveraged finance team, Laskowski’s group advised on Carlyle’s $1.5 billion acquisition of Taiwan cable firm Eastern Multimedia Co. last year. It also represented KKR when it bought the Indian software business of Flextronics for $850 million.