Fours years ago, private equity firm Silver Lake Partners negotiated a similar deal with Flextronics (FLEX - Get Report), when it invested $200 million in the electronics manufacturer via a PIPE deal.
An investment banker who arranges PIPE deals but doesn't want to be identified says private equity firms increasingly are using PIPEs as another way of making a long-term bet on a company, short of an actual buyout.
The banker says buyout firms -- unlike a hedge fund PIPE investor -- don't tend to go short because they typically get to take an in-depth look at a company's financial situation first. In a typical PIPE deal, the hedge fund investors don't get a similar open-door treatment.
Then again, the investment by KKR could just be more evidence that buyout firms have raised so much money that they simply don't know what else do with it.