KKR’s Rosenberg sets sights on growing RE team

In an exclusive interview with PERE, Ralph Rosenberg, managing director and head of real estate at buyout titan Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts, described the firm’s plans for sector growth. Key to KKR, will be the division’s integration with its other ‘industry verticals’.

Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts, the global buyout group which last month signalled its intent to grow a dedicated real estate business through the hire of ex-Goldman Sachs veteran Ralph Rosenberg, is planning to hire a specialised team at KKR’s New York headquarters.

In an exclusive interview with PERE after his appointment as managing director and head of real estate last month, Rosenberg said the team, currently including two other staff, could extend initially to between five and six staff by the end of the year.

Rosenberg did not outline specific details about how the unit would grow across the firm’s 14-office global business but said it would be exposed to all of its various businesses in Europe and Asia as well.

Rosenberg added he and his fledgling team would be taking a dual approach to real estate investing. In addition to making investments where the real estate is the focus, they would also work alongside KKR’s other various divisions to determine and evaluate the benefits of an investment’s real estate component. 

Rosenberg said: “Many people with my sort of experience might have gravitated towards doing something with more autonomy and independence. I’m giving those things up in a positive way [coming to KKR], not a constraining way. KKR is probably the most powerful culture of any the cultures I have worked with in terms of how they value the synergies created across the various industry verticals.”

Todd Fisher, KKR’s chief administration officer said KKR’s ethos of having synergised platforms has already resulted in its new real estate capabilities being utilised: “I can count at least four of the private equity teams independently contacting him because they are working on something where they see something particularly interesting with a real estate angle,” he said.

Describing the presence of a real estate team at the firm now, he said: “We aren’t talking about people sitting in a silo somewhere.”

KKR’s plans to establish a real estate division have been long-anticipated. While the firm has historically invested in real estate, such investment has come via investments in operating businesses and other non-real estate specific channels.

The firm, incepted in 1976, has $61 billion of assets under management.

To read PERE’s interview with Ralph Rosenberg and Todd Fisher, click here.