A unit of
Goldman Sachs Group
that specializes in buying stakes in alternative investment managers has made its first purchase in a firm that’s dedicated to real estate.
The unit, Petershill, acquired this month a minority stake in Westbrook Partners, a 24-year-old firm with $11 billion of property under management in the U.S., Europe and Japan, according to Paul Kazilionis, Westbrook’s chief executive. Mr. Kazilionis declined to specify the size of the stake or sale price.
Westbrook is making the move to strengthen its balance sheet and to create a new ownership structure of the firm that adds Goldman Sachs and about a half-dozen senior Westbrook executives as equity holders. The firm had previously been owned entirely by Mr. Kazilionis, who has committed to remain as Westbrook’s chief executive for at least another 10 years as part of the deal.
Mr. Kazilionis, who was a senior executive in
real-estate business before helping found Westbrook in 1994, said the deal with Goldman also is appealing because his firm will be able to avail itself of Goldman’s resources.
“It’s local information flow that drives our business in these markets,” he said.
Petershill, named after a building in London, is part of Goldman Sachs’ asset management division and has invested in more than 20 investment firms since it started in 2007.
Its deals include a stake two years ago in Littlejohn & Co. LLC, which invests in middle-market companies, and an investment earlier this year in Clearlake Capital Group LP, whose target sectors include energy and software. Petershill also acquired a 15% stake earlier this month in private-equity firm Harvest Partners, which focuses partly on management buyouts and recapitalizations of middle-market companies.
Westbrook, which is based in West Palm Beach, Fla., has about 115 employees. It also has offices in London, Paris, Munich, Tokyo and five other U.S. cities.
In the years after the 2008 financial crisis, Westbrook was known for buying stakes in hotels like the Four Seasons in Miami and San Francisco and the Ritz-Carlton in Boston. Lately, the firm has focused more on “center of the alley” property types like office and rental apartment buildings, Mr. Kazilionis said.
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