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May 9 (Bloomberg) -- KKR & Co., the buyout firm preparing to raise its first fund for real estate, hired Bryan Southergill to lead Asian property investing, said a person with knowledge of the situation.

Southergill, who hasn’t yet started at KKR, will help expand the New York-based private-equity firm’s property investments in the Asia region, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Southergill was a Hong Kong-based managing director and head of Asia real estate investing for a JPMorgan Chase & Co. unit.

KKR started a real estate unit in 2011. During that year, it formed a joint venture with Chinese developer Sino-Ocean Land Holdings Ltd. to invest in Chinese real estate.

KKR has committed more than $650 million of equity in 10 property transactions since it started its real estate unit, with balance-sheet cash representing about half the capital used, Scott Nuttall, head of global capital and asset allocation at KKR, said on an April 25 earnings conference call. The division is led by Ralph Rosenberg, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. partner.

Steve Okun, a spokesman for KKR, declined to comment on Southergill’s hiring.

PERE, a publication of London-based PEI Media that covers the private-equity real estate business, previously reported the hiring.

KKR, run by Henry Kravis and George Roberts, plans to create a real estate fund, Nuttall said on the April 25 call.

“But it’s very early days on that,” he said. “We’ll give you an update in future quarters.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Hui-yong Yu in Seattle at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kara Wetzel at

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