Namsun Kim, former managing director of Macquarie Group’s private equity unit, has joined South Korean internet giant Naver Corp, which is increasing its mergers and acquisitions (M&A) capabilities, sources said on July 9.

Kim spent three years at Macquarie Korea Opportunities Management (MKOM) – which is now Macquarie Korea Asset Management (MKAM) after the merger of the two entities in March – leading several large deals. Among them were the 3 trillion won ($2.4 billion) acquisition of security service provider ADT Caps in 2018 and the 1 trillion won purchase of a minority stake in technology company LG CNS in 2019. He served as a board member of both companies.

Kim first started his career as an attorney at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP after graduating from Harvard Law School in 2007. He began his financial career in 2010 as an investment banker at Lazard and moved to Morgan Stanley in 2012, where he worked for five years before joining Macquarie.

Kim’s move is drawing attention in the industry because a change to key staff in the middle of fundraising is unusual among private equity firms. MKAM is currently raising a new fund, Macquarie Korea Opportunities Fund V, with a target fund size of 750 billion won. It has recently added the National Pension Service (NPS) to the list of the fund’s limited partners after winning a 160 billion won mandate.

Kim had been included in key investment staff in MKAM’s proposal which was submitted to NPS at the beginning of the selection process. The firm informed NPS of Kim’s planned departure after it advanced to the next stage of the competition, according to sources. The change does not appear to have had a critical affect on NPS’ final decision because of MKAM’s strong track record and the involvement of other key long-service professionals.

MKAM plans to recruit a replacement for Kim soon. The firm has been active in the M&A space in recent years, completing several deals with values above 1 trillion won. It is expected to further expand its investment activity after completing the fundraising process. (Reporting by Hee-yeon Han)