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Buzz on Kohlberg Kravis Roberts setting up shop
Strategik move

Mumbai, May 25: New York-based private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co (KKR) will open its office in the country by the end of this year, according to private equity circles.

The company will initially recruit at least 10 investment professionals. However, the entry plans could not be confirmed from KKR.

KKR had acquired Flextronics International for $900 million in 2006, the largest ever leveraged buyout in India. Earlier this year, the private equity firm said it would invest $250 million in Bharti Infratel Ltd.

KKR is among a few foreign private equity firms that do not have office in India. Firms such as the Blackstone Group and the Carlyle Group have operations in the country. The latter started investing in India in 2000 and opened an office in Mumbai five years later.

Carlyle, which started off with seven investment professionals, now has 11 professionals and a support staff. Earlier this month, the company hired Devinjit Singh, who was Citigroup’s head of mergers and acquisitions in India. Singh joins Carlyle’s buyout practice in India as managing director.

Sources said while private equity deals were affected last year because of high valuations, the situation is likely to be better this year as valuations have softened.

During the first four months of this calendar year, the total value of private equity deals was estimated at over $4 billion.

“Providence Equity Partners picked up 20 per cent in Aditya Birla Telecom Ltd, which shows that this year is likely to be better. Although private equity firms are expected to be cautious, India, with a growth rate of more than 8 per cent will attract behemoths such as KKR, who will be keen to invest more,” an industry source said.

KKR was established in 1976 by Henry Kravis and George Roberts, who still lead the firm. According to its website, the company has completed more than 160 transactions with an aggregate enterprise value of over $410 billion. Its investors include corporate and public pension plans, financial institutions, insurance companies and university endowments.

The firm focuses on nine primary industry groups all over the world.

KKR has offices in New York, London, Paris, Hong Kong and Tokyo. It has invested in media, healthcare, chemicals, energy, consumer products, technology and financial services companies.

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