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KKR Forms $300 Million Venture With Stone Point Capital

KKR & Co., the investment firm run by Henry Kravis and George Roberts, formed a $300 million venture with Stone Point Capital LLC to manage and underwrite debt and equity deals.

KKR-SPC Merchant Advisors LLC will be funded by $150 million each from KKR and Stone Point’s Trident V fund, the companies said in a statement today. New York-based KKR’s existing capital-markets unit will initially manage the day-to-day operations. KKR and Greenwich, Connecticut-based Stone Point will have equal representation on the new firm’s board.

The creation of Merchant Advisors, which is separate from KKR’s existing capital markets business, continues a strategy of diversification by the 36-year-old firm best known for private-equity deal-making. KKR in 2006 hired Citigroup Inc.’s Craig Farr to create an underwriting business for the firm’s own holdings. Farr extended those services to non-KKR companies as Wall Street banks wrestled with heightened regulations in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis.

“We believe Merchant Advisors will be well-positioned to deliver a critical capital-markets service to underserved corporate and sponsor clients, particularly as the structure of the financial industry is getting reshaped,” Farr said in the statement.

Stone Point, based in Greenwich, Connecticut, raised $3.5 billion for its fifth fund last year. The firm has historically backed insurance, employee-benefits and financial services companies.

Created by cousins Kravis and Roberts, along with Jerome Kohlberg, in 1976, KKR initially specialized in leveraged buyouts, and has bought companies from Toys “R” Us Inc. to Safeway Inc. In the past decade, KKR has expanded businesses tied to trading debt and offering financing, as well as managing hedge funds and making real estate investments.

KKR Capital Markets has worked on offerings for companies including retailer Dollar General Corp.

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