PERE FORUM EUROPE: KKR identifies first Euro RE deals

Ralph Rosenberg, the recently appointed global head of real estate at New York-based private equity giant Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts, told delegates on the first day of this year’s PERE Forum: Europe, that the firm had identified four investments in the region it was considering pursuing.

Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts, the global private equity and alternatives firm with $61 billion of assets under management, is considering its first real estate transactions in Europe since creating a dedicated real estate platform earlier this year.
In an onstage interview on the first day of this year’s PERE Forum: Europe conference in London, KKR’s global head of real estate Ralph Rosenberg told delegates the firm was pursuing four potential investments in the region.
Former Goldman Sachs Whitehall Funds executive Rosenberg said the firm was interested in investing in a workout situation with a major bank, a London development with one of the UK’s major developers, a sale and leaseback transaction and a transaction with a distressed borrower in Ireland.
Rosenberg said: “We have been fortunate enough in the few months I have been at KKR to have been approached by a number of the worlds best perceived real estate operators which are interested in us investing.”
Referring to this wide spectrum of slated real estate investments, Rosenberg said KKR was focusing on companies and institutions looking for “solutions to problems which might involve the monetising of assets”.
He said KKR was interested in scenarios where  it could help solve banks' problems, and solve those of operators where there was a relationship that allowed the firm to add value. “That’s where we are going to spend our time”.
He also said: “There’s a situation we’re involved with right now that happens to be with a company we know intimately having been a private equity friend of theirs. There’s a sale and leaseback scenario where we have 125 percent confidence in their tenant worthiness.”
While Rosenberg said KKR would invest via a multitude of channels, the firm would not be keen to take part in auction scenarios. “I can’t imagine spending my time on that,” he said, “There’s no real value add there.”
KKR stepped up its efforts in the real estate investment universe in March with the hire of Rosenberg.
His appointment kick-started the formation of a core real estate division in New York totalling six professionals and Rosenberg said this has been followed with a small number of real estate focussed staff being placed in London. In time, he added, more staff would be placed in KKR’s Asia business.
Look out for more coverage on PERENews on Ralph Rosenberg’s time on stage at the PERE Forum: Europe.