Jean Salata, CEO and founding partner of Baring Private Equity Asia, speaks at the SuperReturn Asia … [+]
Jonathan Burgos/Forbes Asia
Baring Private Equity Asia (BPEA)—led by its billionaire CEO and founding partner Jean Salata—aims to increase investments in the region’s technology sector after raising $11.2 billion last week in the largest ever equity fundraising by an Asia-based private equity firm.
“There’s been a huge dislocation of public markets, down anywhere from 20% to 50% in many cases,” Salata told delegates of the SuperReturn Asia conference in Singapore. “That’s a whole universe of deal flows that exist out there.”
While private equity deals have fallen this year after peaking in 2021, Salata said BPEA will continue to invest in technology services, which accounts for 34% of the firm’s portfolio. “This is a sector that fundamentally is continuing to grow,” he said. “We see no signs of deceleration.”
Within Asia, companies in India, the Philippines and the rest of Southeast Asia are benefitting from increasing digitalization with enterprises moving to the cloud and shifting to remote work, while increasingly adopting automation and AI technologies, Salata said.
Founded in 1997, BPEA has grown to become one of Asia’s largest private equity firms with assets under management of over $22 billion and more than 220 employees across 10 offices globally. In March this year, the Hong Kong-based firm agreed to merge with Stockholm-listed EQT in a deal worth $7.5 billion.
“We’re very excited about the transaction,” Salata said. “It’s driving change to our organization to deliver better outcomes to our investors and make us a more competitive firm in the Asian private equity industry.”
After the EQT transaction, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter, Salata will be the head of the combined Asia business, which will be rebranded as BPEA EQT Asia. He will also join EQT’s executive committee.
A citizen of Chile, Salata moved to Hong Kong in 1989 and joined Baring in 1997, before leading a management buyout of Baring three years later. Salata appeared on the Hong Kong Rich List this year, which was published in February. With a net worth of $2.95 billion, he was the city’s wealthiest figure from the private equity sector.
Baring’s portfolio of companies includes JD Health, the health products arm of Chinese billionaire Richard Liu’s e-commerce giant JD.com, and AI company Horizon Robotics.