KKR Europe Fund heads for close

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co (KKR) in late September was reportedly approaching a close on its maiden European buyout fund to take the vehicle over the $2.5 billion (euros 2.3 billion) target the group set this January.

A source close to the firm suggested the fund had been scheduled to close in mid-September but had encountered procedural delays. KKR, as is its wont, declined to comment.

At $2.5 billion or more, the KKR fund would constitute easily the largest dedicated European war chest yet amassed by a US entrant. If, as some market observers predict, KKR takes the vehicle over the $3 billion mark in later closes, the group would rank as the manager of the largest buyout funds in both the US and Europe.

Groups known to have committed to KKR’s European offering include two staunch long-term supporters, the Washington and Oregon State Investment Boards, each of which has put in $400 million. The Michigan Department of Treasury and Chase Manhattan Corp have also reportedly lined up commitments.

KKR’s recent exit from one of its earlier European investments may help sway undecided institutions. This August, UK newspaper group Newsquest, in which KKR held a substantial minority stake, was sold to the US media group Gannett, realising profits of around $640 million (euros 588 million) for KKR.