KKR makes specialist Japan hires ahead of $6 bln Asia fund close

HONG KONG, March 4 Mon Mar 4, 2013 4:43am EST

HONG KONG, March 4 (Reuters) - KKR & Co LP has expanded its team in Japan ahead of closing its new $6 billion pan-Asia fund with specialist hires from Goldman Sachs Group Inc and consultancy firm McKinsey & Co.

KKR, founded in 1976 and led by Henry Kravis and George Roberts, has hired Hiro Shimizu, head of financial institutions at Goldman Sachs Japan's financing group. KKR also hired Sakae Suzuki, a McKinsey specialist in technology, media and telecoms, and operations, the U.S. buyout firm said in a statement on Monday.

The hires increase the firm's Japan team, established in 2006, to 12 people based in Tokyo.

Shimizu joins to expand the presence of KKR Capital Markets in Japan, the firm's specialist credit unit. Private equity firms globally are using credit products to diversify revenues, as they develop alternative asset management structures.

Suzuki joins KKR Capstone, a consultancy unit that focuses on improving operations at KKR companies.

Unlike global rivals like Carlyle Group, KKR does not have a fund dedicated to Japan, but will invest in the country from its new $6 billion pan-Asia fund, the region's biggest.

KKR acquired Japanese recruitment services firm Intelligence in 2010 and in 2011 joined forces with Japanese trading house Itochu Corp to buy U.S. oil and gas firm Samson Investment Co for more than $7.2 billion, the second-biggest global private equity transaction that year.

KKR has more than $5 billion invested in 28 countries across Asia and had $75.5 billion in assets under management at Dec. 31, 2012.

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