KKR & Co Company History Timeline


By 1976, tensions had built up between Bear Stearns and Kohlberg, Kravis and Roberts, which led to the formation of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.

The new KKR completed its first buyout, of manufacturer A.J. Industries, in 1976.


By 1978, with the revision of the ERISA regulations, the nascent KKR was successful in raising its first institutional fund with over $30 million of investor commitments.


KKR completed the public-to-private buyout of Houdaille Industries in 1979.


In 1981, KKR expanded its investor base after the Oregon State Treasury's public pension fund invested in KKR's acquisition of retailer Fred Meyer, Inc.


Kravis and Roberts were buying large companies outright: Beatrice and Safeway in 1986, Owens-Illinois a year later.


Kohlberg balked at the aggressive model and was pushed out in 1987, and Kravis and Roberts, particularly the former, became synonymous with the buyout era after the publication of ­Barbarians at the Gate.

At age 61, Jerome Kohlberg resigned in 1987 (he later founded his own private equity firm, Kohlberg & Co.), and Henry Kravis succeeded him as senior partner.


In November 1988, RJR set guidelines for a final bid submission at the end of the month.

Frederick Ross Johnson, CEO of RJR Nabisco, announced a $17 million leveraged buyout of the company in 1988, which would take it private. (Just a few years earlier, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and the food manufacturer Nabisco had merged.)

Under Kravis and Roberts, the firm was responsible for the 1988 leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco.


After sixteen years of efforts, including contributing new equity, taking RJR public, asset sales, and exchanging shares of RJR for the ownership of Borden, Inc., KKR finally sold the last remnants of its 1989 investment.


As the new decade began, KKR began restructuring RJR. In January 1990, it completed the sale of RJR's Del Monte Foods to a group led by Merrill Lynch.

KKR contributed $1.7 billion of new equity into RJR in July 1990 to complete a restructuring of the company's balance sheet.

In mid-December 1990, RJR announced an exchange offer that would swap debt in RJR for a new public stock in the company, effectively an unusual means of taking RJR public again and simultaneously reducing debt on the company.


RJR issued additional stock to the public in March 1991 to further reduce debt, resulting in an upgrade of the credit rating of RJR's debt from junk to investment grade.

But while they won the buyout battle, in 1991 RJR Nabisco went public with a stock offering and the company’s share price declined.

Six of KKR's portfolio companies completed IPOs in 1991, including RJR Nabisco and Duracell.

In 1991, KKR partnered with Fleet/Norstar Financial Group in the 1991 acquisition of the Bank of New England, from the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.


KKR completed the 1992 buyout of American Re Corporation from Aetna as well as a 47% interest in TW Corporation, later known as The Flagstar Companies and owner of Denny's in 1992.


KKR began to reduce its ownership in RJR in 1994, when its stock in RJR was used as part of the consideration for its leveraged buyout of Borden, Inc., a producer of food and beverage products, consumer products, and industrial products.


The following year, in 1995, KKR would divest itself of its final stake in RJR Nabisco when Borden sold a $638 million block of stock.


In January 1996, KKR would exchange its investment for a 7.5% interest in Fleet Bank.

By 1996, when KKR’s heirs, Nuttall and Bae, joined the firm, it employed about two dozen investors.

In 1996, KKR was able to complete the bulk of fundraising for what was then a record $6 billion private equity fund, the KKR 1996 Fund.


In January 1998, KKR and Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst agreed to the $1.5 billion buyouts of Regal Entertainment Group.


Nabisco and Reynolds became independent with the 1999 spin-off of R.J. Reynolds shares.


Two years later, in 2000, Regal encountered significant financial issues and was forced to file for bankruptcy protection; the company passed to billionaire investor Philip Anschutz.


Since 2002 no KKR buyout fund has returned more than 2.4 times its money.

KKR was able to realize its investment in Shoppers Drug Mart through a 2002 IPO and subsequent public stock offerings.


In July 2004, KKR agreed to sell its stock in Borden Chemical to Apollo Management for $1.2 billion.

But once it started facing flat sales and falling profits, the Toys R Us board of directors put the company up for sale in 2004.

The directories business would be taken public in 2004 as Yellow Pages Income Fund, a Canadian income trust.

In 2004 a consortium comprising KKR, Bain Capital and real estate development company Vornado Realty Trust announced the $6.6 billion acquisition of Toys "R" Us, the toy retailer.


In 2005, Primedia redeemed KKR's preferred stock in the company but KKR was estimated to have lost hundreds of millions of dollars on its common stock holdings as the price of the company's stock collapsed.

In 2005, KKR was one of seven private equity firms involved in the buyout of SunGard in a transaction valued at $11.3 billion.


The deal was first surpassed in July 2006 by the $33 billion buyout of United States hospital operator Hospital Corporation of America, in which KKR participated.

In October 2006, KKR acquired a 50% stake in Tarkett, a France-based distributor of flooring products, in a deal valued at about €1.4 billion ($1.8 billion). On November 20, 2006, KKR announced it would form a A$4 billion partnership with the Seven Network of Australia.

To that end, in 2006 KKR was the first major United States buyout firm to tap public stock markets, raising $5 billion of permanent capital in Amsterdam to invest in its own deals.

However, adjusted for inflation, none of the leveraged buyouts of the 2006–07 period would surpass RJR Nabisco.

In 2006, KKR raised a new $17.6 billion fund the KKR 2006 Fund, with which the firm began executing a series of some of the largest buyouts in history.

KKR had previously listed its KPE vehicle in 2006, but for the first time, KKR would offer investors an ownership interest in the management company itself.


On January 23, 2007, KKR announced it would invest $700 million through a PIPE investment in Sun Microsystems.

On April 26, 2007, Harman announced it had entered an agreement to be acquired by KKR and Goldman Sachs.

In September 2007, KKR and Goldman backed out of the $8 billion buyout of Harman.

Back in 2007, a group of investors led by KKR bought it out for $6.9 billion — a deal that would grant shareholders $22 a share.

In 2007, KKR filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to raise $1.25 billion by selling an ownership interest in its management company.


In January 2008, KKR announced it had made a $1.25 billion PIPE investment in Legg Mason through a convertible preferred stock offering.

The following year, in July 2008, KKR announced a new plan to list its shares.

Shares of KPE had declined significantly in the second half of 2008 with the onset of the credit crunch.


KKR has announced that it expects to close the transaction in 2009.


In October 2010, KKR acquired about nine members of Goldman Sachs Group proprietary trading team after entertaining offers from investment firms such as Perella Weinberg and Blackrock.

In 2010, a Chicagoan named Pete Stavros was made head of KKR’s industrial buyout division.

An $884 million natural-resources fund, raised in 2010, lost most of its value.


In December 2011, Samson Investment Company was acquired by a group of private equity investors led by KKR for approximately $7.2 billion and Samson Resources Corporation was formed.


Sales from its oil pumps and compressors slumped, its shares on the New York Stock Exchange languished, and in 2012 opportunistic financiers, now in the form of a hedge fund, pounded the table for change.

In 2012, KKR bet on hedge funds via a fund-of-funds business, buying $8 billion (assets) Prisma Capital Partners, only to see its performance languish.


In 2013, KKR and investor Goldman Sachs sold their stakes for $60.71 per share.

Eventually management was shuffled, Goldman Sachs oversaw a sale, and a giant New York City buyout firm emerged as the winning bidder in 2013, paying some $3.9 billion, including $2.8 billion in new debt.


In January 2014, KKR acquired Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc for $2.4 billion from two private equity companies - Stone Point, and Hellman & Friedman.

In August 2014, KKR announced it was investing $400 million to acquire Fujian Sunner Development, China's largest chicken farmer, which breeds, processes and supplies frozen and fresh chickens to consumers and corporate clients, such as KFC and McDonald's, across China.


In January 2015, KKR confirmed its purchase of the British rail ticket website thetrainline.com, previously owned by Exponent.

On October 12, 2015, KKR announced that it has entered into definitive agreement with Allianz Capital Partners to acquire their majority stake in Selecta Group, a European vending services operator.


In February 2016, KKR invested $75 million in commercial real estate lender A10 Capital.

On September 1, 2016, KKR announced that it had acquired Epicor Software Corporation, an American software company.


On September 18, 2017, Toys "R" Us, Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, stating the move would give it flexibility to deal with $5 billion in long-term debt, borrow $2 billion so it can pay suppliers for the upcoming holiday season and invest in improving current operations.

Eventually, the toy company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2017.

KKR takes Gardner Denver public in 2017.

Among old-guard private equity giants, KKR was the first to formally announce lines of succession, naming Scott Nuttall, 46, and Joseph Bae, 47, as co-presidents and granting each $121 million in stock awards in 2017.


In July 2018, it was announced that KKR sold Gallagher Shopping Park, West Midlands in the UK to South Korean investors, Hana for £175 million.

On July 22, 2018, KKR & Co. announced it is taking over Taipei-based LCY Chemical Corp. in a deal valued at NT$47.8 billion ($1.56 billion US), part of a plan for more transactions involving controlling stakes in the Greater China region.

Fees have swelled with assets—to $1.8 billion at KKR in 2018 and $3.1 billion at Blackstone—but the existential question is how to beat the S&P 500 and justify them.

Despite losses in its alternative debt and its CLO business last year, KKR kicked off some $400 million in credit management and transaction fees in 2018.

So Scott Nuttall, the firm’s co-president, built an in-house underwriting business for KKR’s portfolio companies, which underwrote 204 debt and equity offerings in 2018 and generated $631 million in fees.

KKR’s fee revenues climbed 19% in 2018 to $1.8 billion, including more than $1 billion in so-called transaction and monitoring charges, which the firm earned for, among other things, management advice to its portfolio companies.


In August 2019, KKR acquired Arnott's, the Australian snack unit of Campbell Soup Company, for $2.2 Billion.

In December 2019, KKR, together with Alberta Investment Management Corporation, acquired a 65% stake in the controversial Coastal GasLink pipeline project, from TC Energy.


The potential for consolidation with KKR subsidiary RBMedia was quickly noted in the library and publishing industry; the acquisition was finalized in June 2020.

In late June of 2020, KKR announced it would lead a $48 million funding round for Artlist, a provider of royalty-free music, sound effects and video.

Company Founded
New York, NY
Company Headquarter
George Roberts,Henry Kravis,Jerome Kohlberg Jr.
Company Founders

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