KKR Buys $200 Million of KPE Stakes

NEW YORK (Reuters) – KKR Private Equity Investors LP (KPE) (KKR.AS), Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co’s Amsterdam-listed fund, said on Sunday it has agreed to sell portions of five of its investments to a KKR-sponsored fund for $200.4 million in cash in order to boost KPE’s liquidity.

KPE said it would transfer stakes in Biomet, Dollar General, First Data, HCA and The Nielsen Co to the KKR-sponsored fund. The value of each investment transferred to the fund was $42.2 million at year-end, bringing the total value of the transfer to $211 million.

Private equity firm KKR has been reconsidering a deal to buy out KPE, which could throw a wrench in KKR’s plans for a U.S. stock listing.

The partnership that KPE makes its investments through will keep a $117.8 million stake in Biomet, a $232.8 million stake in Dollar General, a $77.8 million stake in First Data, a $157.8 million stake in HCA and a $137.8 million stake in The Nielsen Co, based on their values at the end of the year.

Those figures do not include KPE’s investment in these companies through its limited partner interests in KKR private equity funds, the fund said.

KKR’s plans to become a publicly traded company hinge on the deal to buy KPE. KKR announced a complicated transaction in July to buy KPE, delist it from Euronext and launch the new company on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “KKR.”

But since the plans were announced, financial markets and global economies have deteriorated dramatically, making it far less attractive for a company to go public.

The private equity industry has been hit by the meltdown, which shut off the supply of leverage for new deals and made nearly impossible the sale of companies they already owned.

KKR took KPE public in May 2006 in a $5 billion offering but its shares have slumped since the credit turmoil hit. (Reporting by Michael Erman, Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)