KKR targets Europe
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KKR targets Europe

M&A: Europe plays the takeover game

M&A advisers flock to Europe

When two's a crowd can three succeed?

A sure sign that Europe is embarking on an all-round M&A boom is that US leveraged buyout firm Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts (KKR) has arrived. KKR opened an office at London's St James's Square in January, replacing an earlier presence in Europe through an operation called Glenisla.

KKR's European managing director is Edward Gilhuly, a partner in the firm seconded from California. Gilhuly says: "The pace of opportunity has quickened dramatically in Europe. We decided that that the best way to be involved was to have a stronger presence on the ground."

The partnership is putting together its first private-equity fund to target Europe specifically. The pot could contain $2 billion to $3 billion, which compares to a $6 billion fund for US investments closed in 1996. That means Europe is now a great hope for KKR. It has bought four European companies in its history, compared to 75 in the US.

In the US, KKR helps management take three or four companies private in an average year. Gilhuly says: "In Europe, we will have done a good job if on average over the next few years we make two to three investments a year."

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