Buyout king Henry Kravis announced late Sunday that he will take his private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. public on the New York Stock Exchange through a takeover of its Amsterdam-based investment firm KKR Private Equity Investors LP.
Kravis, who gained fame in 1989 when he orchestrated the $21.5 billion buyout of RJR Nabisco, said KKR & co.'s proposed merger will allow the buyout firm to expand during an ideal time to make acquisitions.
"For KKR, this transaction provides us with additional capital for our business," Kravis and co-founder George Roberts said in a statement, according to the Associated Press. "Moving forward with a public listing will allow KKR to do what we do best — grow companies around the world and produce solid returns for our investors from a larger platform and a deeper capital base."
Kravis said the initial public offering will provide the firm with currency and allow it to benefit from its recent investments in fixed-income businesses.
The new publicly traded firm would be valued between $12 and $15 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal. The value of the company will depend on how KKR Private Equity shares trade in the coming months. KKR would hold 79 percent of the newly formed company, while shareholders of KKR Private Equity would own 21 percent, according to KKR officials.
Kravis, who has spearheaded KKR's biggest buyouts and has built the public persona of an insular and somewhat cold mastermind, will now become a very C.E.O.
Kravis and Roberts started KKR in 1976. Besides its famous purchase of RJR Nabisco, the buyout firm gained notoriety for its deals for TXU Corp. and HCA Inc., according to AP.