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BN 15:10 KKR's Roberts Says Stocks Haven't Caught Up With Credit Turmoil
By Edward Evans
Aug. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. co-
founder George Roberts said buyout firms may struggle to offer
attractive premiums on publicly traded takeover targets because
stock prices don't account for a slowdown in lending.
``It's very hard for people to get financing,'' Roberts
said on a conference call with analysts today. ``Stock markets
haven't fully reflected what's taken place in the credit
Leveraged buyout firms including New York-based KKR will be
hard-pressed to offer ``satisfactory'' premiums on transactions,
the 63-year-old Roberts said. Because LBO firms use borrowed
money to fund about two-thirds of the cost of the deals,
takeovers depend on banks finding investors to buy those loans.
Stung by losses from U.S. subprime mortgages, investors
have cut back on riskier assets such as the loans and bonds that
fund LBOs, jeopardizing future KKR buyout transactions. An
increase in borrowing costs for leveraged buyouts may hurt KKR
funds' performance, the firm said earlier this week.
The Standard & Poor's 500 Index of the biggest U.S. stocks
has fallen 8.5 percent from a 2007 high reached last month as
some hedge funds, mortgage companies and other financial-
services companies have been gutted by defaults on subprime
loans, which are given to people with poor or inadequate credit.
``Life will go on, markets will adjust themselves,''
Roberts said. ``We've just come off a period of a major bull
market for corporate credit. That's subsiding.''
Roberts said banks arranging financing for KKR to provide
that money. ``We expect those transactions to close,'' he said.
Shares of KKR Private Equity Investors LP, KKR's publicly
traded private-equity fund, have dropped an annualized 16
percent in the past three months. The fund fell 30 cents, or 1.5
percent, to $20.10 in Amsterdam trading today.
The net asset value of KKR Private Equity was $26.12 a unit,
or $5.34 billion, as of June 30, the Amsterdam-based fund said
today in a statement.
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