KKR's venture breaks records

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The Independent Online

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, the US investment bank led by arts patron Henry Kravis, is to break all records by raising $10bn (£6.8m) for a new venture capital fund.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, the US investment bank led by arts patron Henry Kravis, is to break all records by raising $10bn (£6.8m) for a new venture capital fund.

The buy-out fund has already secured its first major investor with the Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund putting in $1bn, and the Washington State Funds expected to put in at least as much. These investments are the largest ever made by a pension scheme into a venture capital fund.

If successful, the fund-raising will be the largest ever for buy-outs, beating the $6bn raised by Thomas H Lee, a New York-based group, and the $5.25bn raised by Goldman Sachs. That fund was swelled by many of Goldman's partners investing their windfalls from the investment bank's flotation.

The two state funds have been backers of KKR since the early 1990s, when it hit the headlines with the giant buy-out of RJR Nabisco, the foods and tobacco group, a deal which inspired the famous book, Barbarians at the Gate.

In the UK, KKR is best known for backing Newsquest, the newspaper business which was sold last year to US regional publishing giant, Garnett.

KKR was founded by Mr Kravis in the 1980s after a career on Wall Street. Since then he has become one of the most prominent beneficiaries of the arts in the US. He is regularly seen at gallery openings, escorted by his wife, the fashion designer Carolyne Roehm. He was recently invited to join the board of Sotheby's.

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