KKR & Co. raised $7 billion from investors for its third infrastructure fund, KKR Global Infrastructure Investors III, hitting the limit of its target range at a burgeoning time for the sector.
The firm and its employees are plowing about $360 million into the fund, taking its overall size to $7.4 billion, said Raj Agrawal, KKR's global head of infrastructure, in an interview. The fund will focus on deals in countries that are part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, mostly in North America and Western Europe.
The fund's size — more than double the previous $3.1 billion vehicle — is appropriate given the relative stature of the deals KKR is pursuing and the pace of its activity, Mr. Agrawal said. The second fund has delivered an annualized net internal rate of return of 11.3%, while the first fund has posted a net IRR of 12.3%, according to filings.
"We're in the early innings and are excited to have the capital at a time when our deal pipeline is the busiest it's ever been," Mr. Agrawal said. The availability of opportunities reflects the fact that companies are increasingly turning to infrastructure investors such as KKR for capital as an alternative to debt or equity issuance in public markets or even non-infrastructure-focused private equity groups, he added.
KKR's third fund is more than 10% committed. The firm had taken a large stake in a French telecommunications towers company being formed by Altice and invested in a joint venture with Williams Cos. for Discovery Midstream, a natural gas gathering and processing company.
KKR is considering the creation of a European holding company for its investments in telecom towers, Bloomberg News reported in July. Mr. Agrawal declined to comment on that report. The European telecommunications sector and the North American midstream sector are currently the two most active areas for KKR infrastructure, he said.
In 2017, KKR's infrastructure arm spent $4.4 billion across six deals, or roughly eight times its annual average, making it the group's most active year since it began investing in 2011. The new KKR fund is the second infrastructure vehicle of its size to close this week. I Squared Capital on Tuesday raised $7 billion for its second fund.
Investors in KKR's latest fund include the $209.2 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund, Albany; Washington State Investment Board, Olympia, which oversees $129.1 billion in assets including $100.4 billion in defined benefit plan assets; $64.9 billion Alaska Permanent Fund Corp., Juneau; and $821 million Merced County (Calif.) Retirement Association.