Investment Banking

First Data Decline Fuels $553M Loss for KKR

KKR's largest private-equity holding lost 19% of its value in the first quarter, part of a 0.9% depreciation in KKR's private-equity portfolio.
Matthew HellerApril 26, 2016

KKR & Co. swung to a first-quarter loss amid volatility in the financial markets that dragged down the value of payment processor First Data, its largest private-equity holding, by 19%.

The firm on Monday reported an economic net loss of $553 million, or 65 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier profit of $525.9 million, or 62 cents a share. Analysts’ average forecast was for a 35-cent loss, according to a Thomson Reuters poll.

Economic net losses and gains include cash earnings as well as changes in the value of unrealized investments.

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KKR’s unrealized investment in First Data figured prominently in the first-quarter numbers. “KKR puts a larger share of its own money into its investments than its peers do, which leaves it more exposed to changes in the value of its portfolio,” The Wall Street Journal noted.

Overall during the quarter, the firm’s private-equity portfolio depreciated 0.9%. Its stakes in drugstore chain Walgreens Boots Alliance and energy investments also hurt its performance.

“Unrealized, mark-to-market declines in a handful of our larger balance sheet investments negatively impacted our reported economic net income this quarter,” Henry R. Kravis and George R. Roberts, co-CEOs of KKR, said in a news release.

“Our underlying fundamentals across fundraising, deployment, exit activity, and long-term investment performance remain strong,” they added. “Periods with broad market volatility, like we’ve experienced, create meaningful opportunities, and with record dry powder, we feel well positioned to invest and earn attractive returns on behalf of our fund investors and unitholders.”

Other buyout firms struggled in the first quarter of the year, with Blackstone Group last week reporting lower-than-expected profits. KKR shares closed at $14.49 on Monday, down nearly 3%, while First Data fell 2.6% to $13.34.

KKR listed First Data on the New York exchange in October at $16 a share.

“KKR’s fortunes have been closely entwined with the company it bought in a $29.8 billion acquisition in 2007 — one of the largest deals of the pre-crisis leveraged buyout boom,” The Financial Times said.