Alternative asset manager BMB Group has bought emerging markets private equity firm EMP Global. The combined entity will become one of the worldÆs leading alternative asset management houses, with assets in excess of $12 billion. The terms of the deal were not released.

With EMP now in its fold, BMB Group is expected to position a significant portion of its global business in China, while serving as a conduit for Middle Eastern investment into the region.

The groupÆs efforts in China will be based in Qingdao and Hong Kong, and led by Chung Min Pang. Chung has had a long career in China, most recently in private equity businesses, and before that as head of China, first for Salomon Brothers from 1992 to 1995, then for Bank of America from 1995 to 2002. He began his career at ChinaÆs Ministry of Agriculture in 1979 where he participated in the early reforms of the Chinese economy, before joining the World Bank in 1984.

It will have offices in Dubai and Bahrain, and intends to expand significantly in Saudi Arabia. David Gibson-Moore, deputy chief executive officer of the group will be based in the Middle East.

EMP is known as a major investor in AsiaÆs private equity arena. It was founded in 1992, and was the first major private equity house specialising in emerging markets. The partnership has raised some $7 billion of private equity funds, and has offices across the globe including Washington, Hong Kong and Bahrain. Reflecting this cross-market expertise, EMP has launched major funds in Asia, the Middle East, South America, and Emerging Europe. In doing so, it has partnered with a series of major institutional investors including GE.

BMB Group, meanwhile, has offices in Brunei, London, New York, Kuala Lumpur and the Middle East. Its current focus is the investment management of the assets of some wealthy families, ultra-high-net-worth individuals and institutions in Asia. It is majority owned by its senior management, with additional backing from a series of investors from families in Asia.

EMP's US operation will continue to run independently, managing existing private equity funds for corporations and governments.

The offshore business of EMP will become BMB Emerging Markets, which will launch a slate of direct investment funds around the world focused on energy, infrastructure and financial services. BMB Emerging Markets will be adding managers in Asia and opening new offices in conjunction with BMB GroupÆs global strategy.

EMP staff will be taking up key positions within the BMB Group.

EMP partner Moeen Qureshi, a former prime minister of Pakistan and chief operating officer of the World Bank, has been appointed vice chairman of the BMB Group. He will act as a senior advisor to BMB GroupÆs global strategy, and the development of its sovereign wealth focus.

EMP partner Don Roth, a former head of Merrill Lynch Europe and treasurer of the World Bank, has been appointed head of principal investments for the BMB Group.

ôWe are excited about the opportunities in China, and see this as the best time for responsible institutions to commit to investing in what will be the most powerful economy on earth,ö says BMB Group chairman Rayo Withanage.

ôThis transaction is in line with BMBÆs stated strategy, we see this time as an unprecedented opportunity for Eastern financial services players to capture global market positions,ö he adds.

Roth says the plan it to build a global business that assists in the flows of new capital, ômatching eastern values with western governance and experienceö.