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KKR eyes Australia

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, the New York-based buyout giant, is sizing up opportunities in the Australian private equity market, according to sources there.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, which recently announced plans to open new offices in Hong Kong and Tokyo, has also been scouring Australia for potential opportunities, PEO has learnt.

According to sources, KKR founding partner George Roberts and new Asia pointman Joseph Bae visited the country recently to meet with participants in the Australian private equity market, among other executives. The same sources say that KKR is not known to be establishing an Australian office, but is looking at how best it will be able to use its Asian resource to tap into deal flow there.

Australia has proved to be a small but profitable buyout market in recent years, and foreign investment groups have taken an increasing interest. Last month, Washington DC-based buyout firm The Carlyle Group announced the launch of a new office in Sydney headed by former Investcorp managing director Simon Moore.

Last month, KKR said that New York-based managing director Bae and London-based principal Justin Reizes would be heading to Asia at the end of this year to spearhead its new Asian investment effort from Hong Kong. An additional offices is planned for Tokyo.