Private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co said on Wednesday it plans to combine with its Amsterdam-listed fund, which will retain a Euronext listing, and kept the door open for a possible listing on the New York Stock Exchange.
KKR's plans to follow in rival Blackstone Group LP's footsteps and become a publicly traded, NYSE-listed company were originally launched in July 2007, just before the markets started to tumble.
The company, one of the world's most powerful private equity firms, had planned a traditional initial public offering. But it later proposed to combine with its Amsterdam fund, KKR Private Equity Investors (KPE), delist from Amsterdam and list in New York.
Under the deal proposed on Wednesday, KKR said it would still have the ability to seek a listing on the NYSE, but outlined no definite plans or timetable for such a move.
But a source close to the company said KKR remains very keen to pursue the NYSE listing, but the new proposal gives it more freedom to choose the timing.
Under the deal proposed on Wednesday, KKR plans to keep the Amsterdam fund listing, changing previous plans to delist it.
It retreated from definite plans to list in New York, but kept the door open for such a move, saying it had the ability to seek a listing in the future. The firm formally withdrew its previously filed IPO plans.
A source close to the company said KKR remains very eager to pursue the NYSE listing. The source said the new proposal gives it more freedom to choose the timing.
Under the new proposal, KKR would buy the assets of KPE and the fund would remain listed in Amsterdam. KPE would own 30 percent of the combined business, an increase from the original 21 percent proposed.
The deal to which KKR agreed in July 2008 was far clearer with regards to the NYSE listing. KKR had then said it would combine with KPE, delist it from Euronext and debut on the NYSE under the ticker symbol "KKR." It gave an estimated timeline of the end of 2008, which it later delayed to 2009.
In March, KKR threw further doubt on the plans by saying it was reevaluating the deal to buy out KPE.
Under Wednesday's plans, KKR said it has given KPE the right to require the combined company to list in New York if KKR had not sought a listing within 12 months of the deal closing.
Blackstone was the first major U.S. private equity firm to go public, launching in June 2007 at $31 a share. It is currently trading around a third of that level. In trading on Wednesday afternoon it was up 22 cents to $11.26.
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