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AEW Europe expands PE real estate platform with appointment of Simon Blaxland

Pan-European real estate investment manager AEW Europe has expanded its private equity platform with the appointment of Simon Blaxland as executive director.

AEW Europe is increasingly seeing opportunities arising from the current weakness in both the financial and real estate markets across Europe and has recently expanded its investment team to 40 dedicated professionals.

Blaxland’s appointment follows on from a number of senior hires within the firm’s private equity real estate business. Over the last 12 months, Carsten Czarnetzki, Simon Barrett, and Carolina Clemente have also joined the firm as directors within the portfolio management team.

Blaxland formerly held positions in the real estate investment teams of GE Real Estate and Goldman Sachs. Most recently he was managing partner of the Exmoor Group, acting as an investor, operating partner and advisor, working with a number of private equity funds. In his former roles as country manager for GE Real Estate in Spain and Portugal and as part of the Whitehall real estate fund team in London and Paris, he completed over EUR3bn of private equity transactions.

In his new role at AEW Europe Blaxland will report to Russell Jewell, head of private equity funds.

Jewell says: “A shortage of available capital across European real estate markets is generating an increasing number of opportunities to access attractive investments within distressed capital structures. I have known Simon for several years and I am delighted he has joined us and that he will bringing a strong track record and a wealth of experience in opportunistic real estate investing which is well-matched to our private equity strategy.”

AEW Europe is in the process of launching an opportunistic fund targeting distressed European real estate assets and capital structures as well as investing in operating platforms or specialist asset classes which currently suffer from low valuations and a shortage of capital. The fund will also target opportunities in real estate assets that are fundamentally sound, but where institutional investors are unwilling or unable to invest due to asset-specific risk.

Blaxland says: “The market for opportunistic real estate investing is starting to open up again in Europe which makes it an exciting time to be joining AEW Europe’s private equity platform.”

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