Kinder Files For IPO; Harrah’s Folds

Kinder Morgan Inc., which was taken private in a $14.6 billion management buyout in 2007, has filed with U.S. regulators for an initial public offering of up to $1.5 billion that will pay off its sponsors but not itself, according to Reuters, the publisher of Buyouts.

Kinder Morgan, backed by The Carlyle Group and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s buyout fund, said all of the common stock in the offering will be sold by existing investors, including Carlyle, Goldman, Highstar Capital and Riverstone Holdings.

Kinder Morgan said it would not receive any proceeds from the offering.

The window for private equity IPO exits was shut during the financial crisis but cracked open late last year. Private equity firms have a large number of companies to sell in coming years as they look to profit from deals done at the height of the buyout boom of 2005 to 2007.

However, some have run into problems. Casino company Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. folded on a planned $500 million initial public offering, raising questions about the fate of other private equity-backed companies waiting to list in the United States. Harrah’s is sponsored by Apollo Management and TPG Capital.

Some potential private equity-backed IPOs that already have filed may sit it out until next year. Currently in the pipeline are hospital operator HCA Inc., backed by Bain Capital, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Merrill Lynch Capital Partners; retailer Toys R Us, owned by Bain Capital, KKR and Vornado Realty Trust; TV ratings service Nielsen Holdings, sponsored by Carlyle, The Blackstone Group, KKR, Thomas H. Lee Partners, AlpInvest Partners and Hellman & Friedman.

Investors historically have been more critical of private equity-backed companies, which typically have higher debt.

Michael Erman is a Reuters correspondent in New York. Megan Davies, Deena Beasley and Helen Chernikoff also contributed to this report.