A senior adviser at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. said Friday that competitors' decision to go public was unwise and that KKR was "lucky in being slow."
Two of KKR's chief competitors,
Fortress Investment Group
, went public in February 2007 and June 2007, respectively.
Going public went against the unspoken notion of secrecy that traditionally defined the hedge-fund and private-equity space. Those firms' market value has plunged since the start of the financial crisis, raising questions about whether it was wise to launch IPOs to begin with.
Some KKR affiliates, like its real-estate investment trust, KKN, are publicly traded. Adviser George M.C. Fisher, speaking at a conference on private equity and venture capital at Columbia University in New York on Friday, implied that while those entities have struggled as well, taking the entire firm public would have had more dire consequences.
"Those have not been success stories for us or our brethren," he said. He later added, "I suspect we were a little bit lucky in being slow."
Unsurprisingly, Fisher also indicated that KKR is probably not looking toward an IPO in a market with little appetite for such deals.
"In a market like today, it's obviously not as wise," he said.