Qatar Wealth Fund Backs Apollo Commercial REIT in U.S. Expansion

  • Sovereign fund bought 8.8 million REIT common shares
  • Qatar plans to invest $35 billion in U.S. in next five years

Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, which plans to invest $35 billion in the U.S. in the next five years, is backing a commercial real estate investment trust run by a subsidiary of Leon Black’s Apollo Global Management LLC.

The Qatar Investment Authority bought 8.82 million common shares of Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance Inc. on Sept. 18, according to documents filed on Monday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The REIT
announced on Sept. 21 that it sold these shares at $17 each for a total of $150 million, and that it raised another $198 million from the same unidentified investor through preferred stock sales.

The Qatar authority, which helps manage the Middle Eastern country’s energy-generated wealth, announced on Monday that it’s opening an office in New York to better access new and existing investment partners. The Doha-based fund, which controls more than $250 billion, will target various sectors of the U.S. economy, Mohammed Al Kuwari, Qatar’s ambassador to the U.S., said in Twitter postings.

The Qatar fund ranks as the largest shareholder of Glencore Plc, the Swiss commodities trader that has lost more than 70 percent of its market value this year.

The sovereign wealth fund led a group of investors that agreed in January to buy London’s Canary Wharf financial district in a transaction that valued the owner, Songbird Estates Plc, at about 2.6 billion pounds ($3.9 billion).

The REIT plans to use the total proceeds of $348 million to repay borrowings from JPMorgan Chase Bank, according to the Sept. 21 release, and any leftover money may be used to acquiring additional assets. The REIT primarily invests in commercial mortgages, commercial mortgage-backed securities and subordinate financings.

Executives at the REIT didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment.

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