History

  • KKR was founded on May 1, 1976 - a decision made over dinner at Joe and Rose.

of global economic cycles and changes, KKR has grown and evolved into a leading global investment firm.

From the outset, KKR’s success has been built around a single core concept: Partnership. The relationships we have developed with key companies around the world have provided us with both deep industry expertise and access to significant proprietary investment opportunities. Our strong partnerships with investors have allowed us to put capital behind these companies. And we have built an unmatched global team that works as one to create value in those investments.

It was the partnership of our founders, Henry Kravis and George Roberts, that set the tone for KKR’s values and the way our firm would conduct business for decades to come. Not only had they already worked together for years—they were also first cousins and lifelong friends.

The story begins on May 1, 1976, when KKR opened its doors as a firm specializing in management buyouts, a unique approach to investing that pioneered an entire industry: private equity. We had backing from a handful of individuals and a single financial institution. Today, private equity has become an integral part of the global capital markets, as well as a significant driver of economic growth and value creation worldwide.

We invested our own capital, alongside third-party equity dollars and borrowed money, to pursue friendly acquisitions of businesses with good fundamentals and growth potential. Beyond mere capital, however, KKR made an additional investment of time as actively engaged board members whose long-term interests were clearly aligned with those of the company’s other equity partners. After several years working in partnership with a portfolio company’s management team to increase the value of the business, we would sell our stake and distribute profits to our investment partners.