UPDATE 3-KKR makes subdued NYSE debut, shares slip

* Delists from Amsterdam, joins Blackstone in New York

* Shares debut on NYSE, slip as much as 2.7 pct

* Decline could be anticipation of share offer-analyst
(Updates with share price decline, analyst comment)

By Megan Davies

NEW YORK, July 15 (BestGrowthStock) – Storied buyout firm Kohlberg
Kravis Roberts & Co (KKR.N: ) made its long-awaited debut on the
New York Stock Exchange on Thursday, but the start was subdued
and shares traded slightly below their opening price.

KKR’s move from Amsterdam-based Euronext to the NYSE means
it finally catches up with rival Blackstone Group (BX.N: ), which
went public in 2007.

The listing on the Big Board brings a wide investor
audience to the private equity firm and could be a bellwether
for rivals looking to follow suit.

KKR shares opened at $10.50, rose as high as $11.08 and
then fell back, last trading at $10.40, down 1 percent.
Blackstone shares were slightly higher, up $1.3 percent at
$10.42.

“Today’s NYSE listing is an important milestone for KKR and
will provide an opportunity for investors to share in the value
being created by our firm,” Henry Kravis and George Roberts,
co-founders and co-chief executives, said in a press release.

KKR has said the move will allow it to have a more
permanent capital base, use stock to retain and attract staff,
and have a currency to use in making acquisitions.

KKR executives are not selling any shares in the listing,
but the firm previously announced plans to sell $500 million of
new units after it lists, subject to market conditions.

Anticipation of that sale could be one reason for the
stock’s fall on Thursday, said Sandler O’Neill analyst Michael
Kim.

“Maybe people don’t want to step in front of that,” said
Kim, who has a “buy” rating on the stock and a 12-month price
target of $14. Kim added he was surprised that the stock had
declined but said financials stocks in general were down on
Thursday.

“If you look at the stock and what it did when it was
trading in Europe over the past couple of weeks, it has had a
good run, so maybe some of that initial enthusiasm was tempered
by the fact it had run up a bit,” Kim said.
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Reuters Breakingviews [ID:nN14149825]

Factbox on Blackstone and KKR [ID:nN14166995]

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KKR, behind huge acquisitions such as RJR Nabisco and TXU,
originally announced plans to list on the NYSE through a
traditional initial public offering in July 2007, a month after
Blackstone went public and just before the markets started to
tumble.

It later followed a more complex route that involved buying
its Amsterdam-quoted fund, KKR Private Equity Investors,
becoming a Euronext-listed company and then applying to move
the listing to New York.

The listing comes three years after rival Blackstone Group
led the path for private equity firms going public. Blackstone
shares are currently trading at about a third of their $31 IPO
price.

Hot on KKR’s heels will also be the expected listing on the
NYSE of Apollo Global Management [APOLO.UL].

Kravis and Roberts, who co-founded the firm in 1976 with
Jerome Kohlberg Jr., each own just under 13 percent of the
total company, or 87 million shares each, valued at about $903
million at Thursday’s price.

The company has a total of 683 million shares, giving it a
market capitalization of $7 billion. Blackstone has a market
value of about $11.5 billion.

Kravis’ and Roberts’ ownership stake has gradually
decreased as the company has grown. KKR has assets under
management of about $55 billion and employs about 600 staff
worldwide. Those employees own a significant portion of the
company.
(Reporting by Megan Davies; editing by John Wallace, Lisa Von
Ahn and Steve Orlofsky)

UPDATE 3-KKR makes subdued NYSE debut, shares slip