KKR’s Navab: Media Opportunities Abound

Private equity may have opportunity to buy, partner with or invest in the under-pressure media sector, as the industry is likely to continue to combine and sell assets, KKR executive Alexander Navab said on Tuesday.

KKR has investments in a number of media companies such as Nielsen, and in recent months struck a music joint venture with German media giant Bertelsmann.

Navab, who co-heads KKR’s North American Private Equity business and heads the Media/Communications industry team in the U.S., said that the sector should be helped by increased visibility as the economy improves.

Speaking at a Dow Jones private equity conference in New York, he said private equity could have some interesting investment opportunities, acting as a “catalyst to help companies, either acquire some businesses from them, partner with them or invest capital in them.”

More combinations or divestitures from the industry could give investment opportunities, he said.

Navab also forecast that private equity fundraising will improve this year, and said that the private equity firms that have performed well will claim a larger share of that fundraising.

“We do think the fundraising environment will improve — both for traditional investors and potentially new investors looking to come into the asset class — and probably improve throughout the year,” Navab said at the conference.

A number of private equity investors found themselves overexposed to private equity when the value of their equity porfolios slid, and investors grew cautious of making new commitments amid concern about performance.

KKR is expected to launch a new fund at some point, but the firm is reserving judgment on when to begin marketing the next fund, a source close to KKR previously told Reuters. KKR has about $5 billion in un-called capital from its 2006 fund.