Guggenheim’s Dubai Venture Hires Barraj, Seeks Dealmakers

  • Barraj joins from Shuaa Capital, has contacts in Saudi Arabia
  • Companies are seeking health-care, education and food deals

Guggenheim Partners’ venture in Dubai hired Mohammad Barraj as a managing director to focus on dealmaking.

Barraj joins from Shuaa Capital PSC, according to Hani Buttikhi, who leads Guggenheim KBBO Partners. The venture seeks to add two more investment bankers to boost the headcount to five over the next two years, Buttikhi said in an interview Tuesday.

Guggenheim has been hiring investment bankers to advise on mergers and acquisitions globally, adding talent in San Francisco and London in recent months. Barraj has advised clients including Emirates National Group and NMC Health Plc, which went public in 2012. He’s a specialist in the health-care sector, which is one of the most active for transactions and public listings in the region, along with education, food and beverages, Buttikhi said.

Barraj is “a strong relationship guy, he has a very strong track record,” Buttikhi said. “The whole sector is relationship driven, and he has strong relationships in the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia.”

Guggenheim KBBO Partners will seek to advise clients that are seeking buyers. Private equity firms including KKR & Co., Blackstone Group LP and Carlyle Group LP have sought takeovers in the region. The venture seeks to generate about half its business from initial public offerings and works closely with family-owned companies, Buttikhi said.

Building Relationships

Buttikhi is seeking to gain scale from global rivals such as HSBC Plc, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Guggenheim, which is led by Chief Executive Officer Mark Walter and has headquarters in New York and Chicago, formed the venture with KBBO Group in 2014.

“There is large competition within the investment banking space,” Buttikhi said. “Where we look to differ ourselves is through focus on medium-sized deals, and focus on our relationships that have been built through the last 10 years.”

Barraj has a bachelor’s degree from the American University of Beirut in Lebanon and master’s in accounting and finance from University of Birmingham in the U.K.

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