KKR hires ex-MCI head to lead First Data(2)

KKR has hired Michael Capellas to lead First Data Corp after the completion of its planned $27.9 billion acquisition, which is reportedly having trouble obtaining debt financing.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts has brought in former MCI chief executive officer Michael Capellas to lead US electronic payments company First Data Corp. His hire is contingent upon the conclusion of the private equity firm’s takeover of the company.

Capellas will succeed Henry “Ric” Duques, who announced his intention to retire in two years when he assumed, for the second time, the role of chairman and chief executive officer of First Data in 2005.

Capellas was most recently the chief executive officer of MCI, formerly Worldcom, from 2002 to 2006. Prior to that he was the chief executive officer of Compaq Computer Corporation until 2002, and continued as president of Hewlett-Packard Company after it acquired Compaq that year. Since 2006, Capellas has also served as a senior advisor to technology investment firm Silver Lake Partners.

KKR’s $27.9 billion bid for First Data was approved on April 2, and is expected to close in the third quarter. But the firm has reportedly yet to secure backers for a proposed $14 billion covenant-lite loan or an $8 billion junk bond offering. This structure would give First Data debt equal to 10 times EBITDA, a prospect at which potential lenders have reportedly balked.