KKR & Co. is preparing to raise another European buyout fund just a year after its last one, having comfortably outspent rivals during the coronavirus pandemic, according to people familiar with the matter.

The U.S. private equity firm is in the early stages of planning for a new fund, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information. The vehicle is likely to be larger than the 5.8 billion euros ($6.9 billion) KKR raised for its fifth European private equity fund in November 2019, the people said.

KKR plans to begin the fundraising next year, one of the people said. The fund will be managed by partners Philipp Freise and Mattia Caprioli, the person said. They are co-heads of European private equity at the firm.

Deliberations are ongoing and no final decisions on timing or amount have been made, according to the people. A representative for KKR declined to comment.

Such a quick return to the fundraising trail is a result of KKR having been the world’s most active buyout firm this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It has announced more than $20 billion of purchases in Europe alone, the data show.

While the crisis brought an abrupt halt to dealmaking for many of the private equity industry’s biggest names in March, KKR continued to spend big and invest through the downturn. Notable deals have included a 6.8 billion euro take private of German publisher Axel Springer SE and a 4.2 billion pound ($5.6 billion) acquisition of waste-management business Viridor Ltd.

Johannes Huth, KKR’s top dealmaker in Europe, told Bloomberg News earlier this year that the firm didn’t want to repeat mistakes made following the 2008 financial crisis — when it largely sat on the sidelines and missed opportunities.

It’s not just been chasing buyouts. In April, the firm rebooted an unsuccessful credit fund in the hope of raising new money to scoop up bonds and loans battered by the pandemic.

Source: Bloomberg

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