KKR, has announced a transaction to acquire Avoca Capital, a leading European credit investment manager with approximately $8 billion in assets under management. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Founded in 2002, Avoca has a long track record as one of the leading investment firms in the European leveraged credit markets. Avoca invests across five strategies — European loans and bonds, credit opportunities, long/short credit, convertible bonds and structured and illiquid credit. The Avoca platform has experienced strong inflows in recent years as institutional investors seek access to credit asset classes with a focus on attractive returns and downside protection.
Henry Kravis and George Roberts, co-founders and co-CEOs of KKR, stated: "We believe the European credit space offers significant opportunity. To date we have built our European credit business focused on originated credit opportunities such as private credit and special situations, providing $2 billion of capital in just the last two years to European companies.”
“Avoca has a very strong track record, an entrepreneurial management team and excellent capabilities that are complementary to ours in European senior and liquid credit. This acquisition will enable us to expand our credit platform to offer a full spectrum of credit opportunities globally for our clients."
Alan Burke and Dónal Daly, co-founders of Avoca, stated: "European credit markets are likely to grow significantly over the decade ahead as banks deleverage and take time to rebuild their capital bases. This transaction creates a broad based credit business that will be at the forefront of the developments in European credit markets in the years to come. We are very excited by the enhanced opportunities the transaction will bring for the Avoca team and its clients."
As European banks have shifted assets to comply with Basel III regulations on capital and leverage, alternative capital providers that are able to make longer term investments are providing financing to European companies while providing institutional investors with the returns they need to pay their pension and insurance obligations.
Upon closing the transaction, KKR will have approximately $28 billion in credit assets in its multi-strategy credit platform operating globally in San Francisco, New York, Dublin, London and Sydney. The combined European credit business will have approximately 80 people on the ground and €8bn ($11bn) of European credit assets ranging across the entire capital structure in credit from senior loans to long short credit, structured credit, mezzanine, special situations and convertible bonds.
Alan Burke, Avoca co-founder and CEO, will lead KKR's European credit platform and together with Nat Zilkha will help drive the future growth of KKR's global credit business. Both Alan and Nat will report to Craig Farr, who has responsibility for KKR's global credit and capital markets businesses. Dónal Daly, co-founder and Chairman of Avoca, will become a Senior Advisor to KKR at transaction close.
All Avoca employees in Dublin and London will join KKR on transaction close. Investment teams and processes for both KKR and Avoca, including the portfolio management of the respective firms' strategies, will remain unchanged by the transaction. Avoca's Dublin office will remain a core part of the combined franchise. The transaction, which is subject to customary regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014.