What is KKR?
KKR & Co. L.P (Kohlberg, Kravis and
Roberts) is a multinational private
equity firm founded in America by
Jerome Kohlberg Jr., Henry R. Kravis
and George R. Roberts in 1976.
They are pioneers in the leveraged
buyout strategy, which they famously
used to buyout RJR Nabisco in 1988.
Their total assets are estimated to be
worth roughly $40.3 billion as of 2011.
What is private equity?
The keyword is “private”. Private
equity is a class of financial assets
made of stocks and debts from
companies that aren’t publicly
Private equity companies provide
a source of capital and investment
for companies that cannot or will
not go public.
A common strategy in private
equity is a leveraged buyout, in
which a private equity firm buys
majority control of another firm.
How does KKR operate?
KKR’s staff consists of roughly 140 investment
professionals and 400 total employees
organized into 9 industry-focused groups.
Energy & Natural Resources
Media and Communications
These groups typically conduct private
equity leveraged buyout investments in their
respective industries. Members of each
group are expected to have professional
knowledge of their respective industries.
The Beginnings of KKR
Jerome Kohlberg, Henry R Kravis and
George Roberts worked at Bear
Stearns in the 60’s and 70’s.
Their acquisition of Orkin Exterminating
Company is one of the first major
In 1976, tensions between Bear Stearns
executive Cy Lewis and the three
founders led to a split and the
creation of KKR.
By 1980, KKR was one of the most
prominent specialists of leveraged
buyouts and would be well positioned
for the buyout boom of the 1980’s.
From left: Founders Henry R Kravis, Jerome
Kohlberg and George R Roberts
The Buyout Boom
KKR went on to make numerous
major acquisitions during the
1980’s buyout boom.
The Buyout Boom of the 1980s was
a string of estimated 2,000
leveraged buyouts worth $250
million or more between 1979 and
Notable acquisitions by KKR
include Beatrice ($6.1 billion) and
Safeway ($5.5 billion)
Initial Public Offering
KKR filed for an IPO with the SEC in
2007, hot on the heels of rival
Blackstone Group’s own IPO less than
two weeks earlier. However, poor
conditions in the IPO market resulted
in the flotation being aborted.
KKR announced in alternative plan to
distribute shares in 2009, involving a
reverse takeover of their affiliate KKR
Private Equity Investors.
KKR’s public listing on the NYSE
officially opened in 2010.
Henry R Kravis at the World Economic Forum
KKR remains largely unchanged and continues to
successfully implement leveraged buyout strategies as
the economy recovers.
In 1996, KKR was able to complete the bulk of
fundraising for what was then a record $6 billion private
equity fund, the KKR 1996 Fund.
They executed a $44 billion takeover of TXU (a Texas
energy company) in 2007, which to date has proven to
be the largest buyout completed to date.
They recently finished a $2 billion energy fund in 2014 in
order to capitalize on the North American energy boom.
KKR Green Portfolio
In 2008, KKR launched their Green
Portfolio, a project applying KKR’s
performance analysis skills to
measuring and mitigating the
environmental footprint of
The project came about as a direct
result of the TXU acquisition and
represents the first collaborative
effort between environmentalists
As of the latest data taken in 2012,
the Green Portfolio is estimated to
have had a $917 million impact on
avoided waste and water use over
Notable past and current
Original founder Jerome Kohlberg left the company in
1987 due to strategy differences. He founded a new
private equity firm Kohlberg & Co.
Founders Henry R Kravis and George R Roberts remain
at the head of KKR.
Former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken
Mehlman joined KKR as the Global Head of Public
Affairs in 2008.
Scott Nuttall heads the Global Capital Asset and
Management Group, KKR’s fastest growing
Former US Army general and CIA director David
Petraeus joined KKR in 2013 to serve as the chairman of
the Global Institute.
Alex Navab is the co-head of KKR’s Americas Private
Equity business and the head of the Media and
Communications team in the US.
Former general David Petraeus announces
his employment at KKR