Apollo Seeks Infrastructure Partner to Lead Expansion

(Bloomberg) -- Apollo Global Management LLC is seeking an infrastructure partner as it plans to capitalize on investor interest in the sector and follow in the footsteps of its rivals.

The New York firm has hired a headhunter to fill the position, according to people familiar with the matter who declined to be named because the matter is private. An Apollo spokesman declined to comment.

The search follows the departure of Apollo’s global head of real assets Joe Azelby last year. Azelby, who retired from JPMorgan Chase & Co. after roughly three decades, spent a little over a year at Apollo as a senior partner and member of its management committee. Azelby and Apollo’s top brass differed in their approach to attracting investors and assembling teams for its planned infrastructure funds, Bloomberg News reported at the time.

Apollo has since stepped up its infrastructure efforts, acquiring a $1 billion portfolio of energy infrastructure assets from General Electric Co.

“We believe this important transaction provides us with a unique opportunity to expand our existing infrastructure capabilities and launch a new equity investment platform,” Apollo co-founder Josh Harris said on the firm’s earnings call on Jan. 31. Following the completion of that transaction, the firm’s real assets footprint total exceeds $20 billion, he said.

Apollo’s effort to catch up to peers including Blackstone Group LP and Carlyle Group LP come as infrastructure fundraising reached an all-time high in 2018, breaking a 2017 record, according to data provider Preqin. Sixty-seven funds -- including one managed by one of Apollo’s closest rivals, KKR & Co. -- raised a collective $85 billion. In 2019, funds could eclipse that record, with 208 funds already in the market in January, targeting $193 billion in aggregate.

“Infrastructure is a very interesting space that lends itself very much to the type of skill-set that Apollo brings to investing,” Apollo Co-President Scott Kleinman said on the call. “We have been adding infrastructure professionals and we’ll continue to grow that business through 2019 and beyond.”

At least one infrastructure-focused staff member from GE Capital, Robert Strickland, joined Apollo last month as a principal, according to his LinkedIn profile.

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