Blackstone names adviser to chase Australia deals

MELBOURNE Mon Sep 10, 2012 6:22am IST

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MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Global private equity fund Blackstone Group LP (BX.N) said it has appointed James Carnegie, a former partner at top-tier Australian private equity firm Archer Capital, as a senior adviser as the firm chases buyout opportunities in Australia.

Michael Chae, Blackstone's head of private equity for Asia-Pacific, said Carnegie would strengthen the group's pursuit of opportunities in Australia.

Blackstone has completed one deal in Australia and New Zealand outside the real estate sector - its buyout last year of New Zealand fast food chain Antares Restaurant Group.

Blackstone was considering a potential bid for packaging firm Pact, worth up to A$1.4 billion ($1.45 billion), sources said in June. Earlier in the year, Blackstone bought 69 warehouses in the United States from Dexus Property Group (DXS.AX) for about A$800 million.

"Australia presents many attractive opportunities to invest capital for a value-added and committed investor and I am looking forward to help drive this process here," Carnegie said in a statement on Monday.

Carnegie is the second high-profile appointment for Blackstone in Australia, after it hired the former chief of the nation's sovereign wealth fund, Paul Costello, as non-executive chairman last year.

(Reporting by Victoria Thieberger; Editing by Eric Meijer)