Cerberus' play for Spanish real estate 'truly baffling, obtuse'?

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In an article entitled, “Dan Quayle Returns as 3-Headed Dog, Goes Into Real Estate,” Pacific Standard marvels at the moxie of the hedge fund Cerberus in acquiring the real estate investment division of Spain’s Bankia.

“Cerberus is entering a market virtually no significant investment body on Earth has seen as viable since 2008 or so, at least as measured by the closely followed risk ratios,” Pacific Standard’s Marc Herman notes.

It can’t be ignored that Cerberus hired the son of former Spanish President José María Aznar to lay the groundwork for the deal, or that other well-connected players include former U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle (Cerberus’ Chair of International Investments) and former U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow.

Herman warns against “guilt by association” as “a bit too easy. The big names involved are only a surprise if you expect these kinds of international transactions to be carried out by average people. Would you really want your 401(k) speculating in Spanish real estate? Who would you expect to be doing so? Your mailman?”

But, he concludes, “the personal connections of the players in the story, and the history they or close associates have to the worlds real estate-driven crashes, is hard to overlook. You try to lower risk any way you can, and these are people with pull, in an opaque process. It’s fair to ask questions about these deals in an industry and a country mired in a series of corruption cases lately.” Source: psmag.com.