KKR Deployed Record $12.5 Billion as Firm Ramped Up Deals

KKR & Co. deployed a record $12.5 billion in the fourth quarter, finding buying opportunities in the market turbulence of the Covid-19 pandemic.

New York-based KKR also had a record fundraising for the year, taking in about $44 billion, according to a statement Monday.

KKR “had the most active fundraising and deployment year in our history,” co-Chief Executive Officers Henry Kravis and George Roberts said in the statement.

Private equity firms have been bringing in cash at a rapid pace and KKR has been among the most active dealmakers. Notable acquisitions last year included a $3 billion-plus deal for lens retailer 1-800 Contacts and spending 4.2 billion pounds ($5.8 billion) for waste management business Viridor Ltd. It has also expanded its U.S. industrial real estate holdings.

Its $2.8 billion Dislocation Opportunities Fund, raised at the height of pandemic anxiety, gained 52% last year as it seized on credit opportunities.

KKR rose 0.6% to $45.55 at 9:52 a.m. in New York trading.

The shares have outpaced rivals. They rose 36% in the 12 months through Monday. Blackstone Group Inc. and Apollo Global Management Inc. advanced 12% and 7.6%, respectively.

Among fourth-quarter highlights:

  • Distributable earnings were 49 cents a share, exceeding the average estimate of 41 cents among analysts.
  • The firm’s flagship private equity funds posted gains of 32% before fees.
  • Fee-related earnings climbed 59% from a year earlier to $431 million.
  • The firm ended the year with $252 billion in assets under management, 16% higher than a year earlier. Including the purchase of Global Atlantic Financial Group Ltd., that figure would be $342 billion.
  • KKR had dry powder of $67 billion as of Dec. 31. That’s little changed from the end of the third quarter.

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