KKR’s Scott Nuttall: ‘We are still short capital and long opportunity;’ Alpine debuts training platform

Alpine Investors unveils professional education platform.

Good morning, Hubsters. MK Flynn here on the Wire.

Dry powder. People talk about – and balk at – all the so-called dry powder available in private equity and complain about how there’s too much capital chasing too few deals, but KKR co-CEO Scott Nuttall sees things a bit differently.

Nuttall spoke yesterday at the Alliance Bernstein 38th Annual Strategic Decisions Conference 2022.

“The purchasing power of the dry powder of private equity has gone down, because leverage has gone down over the last 30 years,” Nuttall said. “Market caps have gone up…. What percent of the S&P could private equity buy? It’s a diminishing number. And also, it’s become a global business, right? So, Europe and Asia are now very large markets for all things alternatives. That was not the case 20, 30 years ago. So, we’ve gone up and down the capital structure across asset classes and around the world. And so, as a percentage of the overall opportunity, alternative asset management is not that big. So, yes, there’s a good amount of dry powder, relative to what we used to have, but relative to the opportunity set, we are still short capital and long opportunity.”

In April, KKR closed its biggest fund ever, the $19 billion North America flagship fund.

Nevertheless, “We wish we had a lot more dry powder,” Nuttall said.

As for what KKR is spending capital on, Nuttall mentioned several themes: businesses that have pricing power and are less exposed to economic cycles (such as veterinary, dental and accounting businesses); real estate; infrastructure; security; and “all things digital.”

Listening to the talk were Buyouts’ Kirk Falconer and PE Hub’s Nina Lindholm.

Kirk’s been covering KKR for many years. See his recent story on the firm’s fundraising activities.

And feel free to out to Kirk with fundraising news and analysis at kfalconer@buyoutsinsider.com.

Nina joined PE Hub this week as a reporter in the UK. Previously, she worked as a reporter at With Intelligence (previously known as Pageant Media).

If you’ve got news and insights on European PE deals, send ‘em to Nina at nina.l@peimedia.com – although you may want to wait until next week, as today and tomorrow are holidays in the UK, with celebrations for Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee.

Tech training. This morning, Alpine Investors announced the launch of a professional education platform dubbed Axcel. The platform brings together two new portfolio companies: Michael Management Corp. (MMC), a provider of training for SAP enterprise software; and Web Age Solutions, an IT training company. Existing portfolio company Interskill Learning, a provider of online mainframe training, will also come under the Axcel umbrella.

Alpine is investing in Axcel through its AlpineX vehicle, which backs lower middle-market services businesses. PE Hub’s Obey Martin Manayiti caught up with Jonathan Zeidan, an operating partner with Alpine who serves as Axcel’s chief executive.

“Professional education is being reinvented and reimagined as we speak. Axcel aspires to be at the heart of that reinvention,” Zeidan said, adding that Axcel has the ability and opportunity “to dramatically influence people’s lives through professional education.”

For more, read the full story.

You can reach Obey at obey.m@peimedia.com.

And, as always, you can reach me at mk.flynn@peimedia.com.

That’s all for now. I hope you have a good rest of the week. PE Hub’s Aaron Weitzman writes the Wire on Fridays, so I’ll see you next week.