LaSalle Investment Management ("LaSalle") today announced that it is to establish a Special Situations team for the UK and Continental Europe. The new team will primarily be responsible for evaluating potential corporate level acquisitions, structured debt and equity opportunities and will be targeting the higher risk/return end of the investment spectrum.
The announcement reflects LaSalle's commitment to pursuing its long-term strategic vision in all market cycles and increases its capabilities to make attractive investments in more complex situations. These include investments in large scale joint ventures; private real estate operating companies; corporate sale/leasebacks; structured debt and equity interests; distressed debt and public company buyouts.
The new Special Situations team includes new recruit to LaSalle, Amy Aznar. Aznar comes with a 13-year track record working for some of the world's top financial institutions analyzing and executing corporate deals, and will lead LaSalle's efforts in strategic entity-level investing, large transactions and joint ventures across the UK and Europe. Aznar will be based in the London office and starts in September 2008.
Aznar and her team will report to Simon Marrison and Charles Maudsley, Co-Heads of LaSalle Investment Management Europe, working closely with LaSalle's existing teams to leverage the firm's on-the-ground local property expertise, fundraising, business development and fund structuring.
Simon Marrison and Charlie Maudsley, Co-Heads of Europe, LaSalle Investment Management, commented: "Our aim in establishing this new enterprise across Europe is a deliberate, strategic move to capitalise on many of the immediate- and long-term opportunities we see in the corporate real estate market. This not only underscores our enthusiasm for expanding our entrepreneurial team base into newer and more innovative areas of investment to realise returns for our investors, but further emphasises our continued confidence in LaSalle's position to take advantage of current market conditions.
"Recent volatility offers investors in Europe an opportunity to maximise returns and we believe the overall outlook for the region remains positive, with Europe being home to some of the world's largest, most active property markets offering strong investment prospects."
Aznar has a varied and practiced background in corporate level principal investment and investment advisory across multiple geographies, most recently working with Merrill Lynch Global Principal Investments in London where she was a managing director and responsible for executing complex, large and strategic transactions which included entity-level and platform joint venture investing as well as non-performing loan acquisitions.
Prior to Merrill Lynch she worked with Jones Lang LaSalle Corporate Finance raising equity capital for corporations, structuring and executing corporate realizations and joint ventures and providing financial strategic advisory, and before that worked with LaSalle Partners Inc. out of Chicago, involved in debt and equity capital raising and the financing and disposition of assets. Prior to LaSalle Partners, she worked at Morgan Stanley & Co, Inc. in the Real Estate Group and MSREF in New York.
Marrison and Maudsley continue: "Amy's sophisticated understanding of investment banking, fund structuring and financial strategic advisory matched our interests in establishing and growing this area of real estate investment and we're truly excited by the prospect of getting this new initiative off the ground and operating on behalf of our clients. Combined with our long-held abilities to source and finance deals across Europe, Amy is well positioned to harness the many entity-level investment opportunities available across this still-rich geography."