KKR delays listed fund merger again

The buyout giant’s plan to delist its Euronext-traded fund and float on the New York Stock Exchange has once more been delayed due to the tumultuous recent conditions in the financial markets.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, the global private equity firm, has extended the deadline for its proposed merger with Euronext-listed vehicle KKR Private Equity Investors, known as KPE.

Under a plan revealed in July last year the global firm intended to delist KPE, whose steep discount to net asset value and low trading volumes had disappointed its management team, prior to listing KKR in its entirety on the New York Stock Exchange.

But following the rapid escalation of the financial crisis in the third and fourth quarter of 2008, KKR decided earlier this year to re-evaluate its plan.

KKR had originally given itself until today to complete the acquisition of KPE’s assets. The firm has now pushed the deadline back to August 31. “KKR and the independent directors of KPE's general partner continue their process of evaluating the advisability of the transaction,” said a statement from KKR.

This is the second time that developments in the global financial markets have interfered with KKR’s public market listing ambitions. In 2007, before the credit crunch began, the firm registered for a $1.25 billion IPO.

KPE has a $3.4 billion portfolio, 95 percent of which comprises limited partner interests in, and direct co-investments alongside, six KKR-managed private equity funds. The listed vehicle has a market capitalisation of around $740 million.