KKR's Kravis Argues P.E. Needs To Tell A Better 'Story'

Feb 26 2014 | 10:51am ET

Private equity firms aren't doing enough to bolster the industry's reputation, according to one of its most prominent executives.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts co-founder Henry Kravis told the SuperReturn International conference in Berlin yesterday that "we've done a lousy job of telling our story. People think private equity is hedge funds. We have not done a good job as an industry."

Kravis did his best to argue that p.e. is neither a synonym for hedge funds nor the corporate raiders of yore.

"This is not a game of financial engineering," he said. Private equity firms need "a proper capital structure to invest in a business," and that loading debt onto portfolio companies "ain't gonna work." And he complained that banks are not helping the situation, offering leverage beyond "levels of safety" for U.S. buyouts.

The 70-year-old also assured the audience that neither he nor his cousin and co-CEO, George Roberts, were going anywhere.

"I love what I'm doing, George loves what he's doing," he said, adding that they plan to lead KKR as long as they are "healthy and having fun and our partners don't kick us out."


In Depth

U.S. Treasury Moves on Reinsurance Loophole

Apr 24 2015 | 5:11pm ET

The U.S. Treasury Department has released proposed rules aimed at limiting the ability...

Lifestyle

Puerto Rico Woos The Rich But So Far Gains Little

Apr 17 2015 | 2:45am ET

Hedge fund manager Rob Rill grins. He has just had word that U.S. financial regulators...

Guest Contributor

Starting a ‘40 Act Fund Family? Don’t Forget Your Board

Apr 30 2015 | 7:18am ET

The convergence of the hedge fund and mutual fund worlds continues unabated, as...

 

Editor's Note