KKR Extends KPE Deadline, Listing Delayed

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co on Friday extended by four months the deadline to buy its Amsterdam-listed fund KPE (KKR.AS), a deal that is key to KKR’s plans for a U.S. stock listing.

KKR and Euronext-listed KKR Private Equity Investors (KPE) said in a statement they had extended the deadline to Aug. 31 from April 27.

KKR and KPE’s independent directors said in the statement they are continuing their process of “evaluating the advisability of the transaction.”

New York-based KKR’s plans to become a publicly-traded company hinge on the deal to buy the fund. If that transaction is scrapped, the listing would be thrown into question.

KKR announced the complicated transaction last July, saying it would buy KPE, delist it from Euronext and launch the combined new company on the New York Stock Exchange under the stock symbol “KKR.” KKR had previously considered a more conventional initial public offering.

Since the plan was 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 hard by the meltdown, which has shut off the supply of leverage for new deals and made it nearly impossible for private equity firms to sell companies they already own.

KKR said in March that the two sides were reevaluating the deal in light of the economic and market changes and hoped to complete their analysis over the next several weeks.

It said on Friday that the deal is “subject to customary closing conditions, and there can be no assurance as to whether or when the transaction will be completed.”

In the statement, KKR made made no comment on its proposed public listing. (Reporting by Megan Davies; editing by John Wallace)