February 2008
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Kohlberg Kravis Roberts plans India office, hunts for head honcho

The legendary buyout fund firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) is setting up its operations in India, and hunting for its head honcho. The fact that KKR is setting up office here, two years after it announced its first deal by purchasing a 85% stake in Flextronics for $900 million, speaks a lot about India’s prospects in attracting private equity (PE) investments. Since inception in 1976, the fund has done over 150 deals through its offices in New York, Menlo Park, London, Hong Kong and Tokyo, and the list does not include China, India’s closest rival in receiving PE investments. An almost dead IPO market and RBI’s stringent norms for raising money through external commercial borrowings and foreign currency convertible bonds are expected to push India ahead of China in the PE space this year, said Rishi Sahai, director, IndusView, which advises MNCs on business opportunities emanating in India. Last year, India made a coup of sorts by overtaking China in PE investments. The trend continues this year. In January, India got PE investments worth $1.2 billion, surpassing Asian giants like China ($609 million) and Japan ($980 million), according to a report by the Asian Venture Capital Journal. Mr Sahai said India’s numbers stood at $1.3 billion against China’s $375 million. Industry experts expect that the country will end up having PE money of $25 billion this year and $50 billion in 2010. […]