Ex-Goldman Sachs pro ‘Goldfinger’ raises $2.5B

“Goldfinger” is back in the market and has a new focus: Asia.

Mount Kellett Capital, a New York-based private equity firm run by former Goldman Sachs Partner Mark McGoldrick, has completed raising about $2.5 billion for its first fund with a focus on Asia, according to two people with knowledge of the situation.

McGoldrick earned his nickname while at Goldman Sachs where, as co-head of its lucrative global special situations group, media reported he was paid between $40 million and $70 million in 2006.

Asia-focused Mount Kellett, which McGoldrick and other former Goldman colleagues launched early last year, initially set a target to raise about $5 billion, but pared that back as markets fell sharply late last year, said the two sources, who declined to be identified.

Along with scaling back its original target, Mount Kellett also shifted its global investment scale to focus on Asia, especially China, said the sources.

A representative for Mount Kellett could not be immediately reached for comment.

“In fact, it’s not that bad at all: $2.5 billion is a very impressive number in such a tough market environment,” said one of the sources.

Mount Kellett, named after a mountain in Hong Kong, has an office in the former British colony with about 10 investment professionals seeking deals across Asia, especially in China and India, said one person familiar with operations.

Even before the firm raised its first $2.5 billion fund, Mount Kellett executives had begun talks with several Chinese firms for potential investments, the person said.

“It’s a new firm, but it has a big appetite from the start,” said the source, who is bidding against Mount Kellett for one China deal.

“People are talking about Mount Kellett, and you can actually see these guys on many big deals these days. They are apparently an aggressive investor,” said the source, who declined to elaborate.

The ideal deal size for Mount Kellett would be about $100 million, he said, which is a similar target range to other investment firms, such as Primus and FountainVest that are run by ex-senior bankers.

In April, Robert Morse, a former top Asia executive of Citigroup, co-founded Primus with two former colleagues, raising $1 billion.

FountainVest, launched late last year, is a $1 billion China-dedicated fund backed by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings. —George Chen