KKR to invest 'hundreds of millions of dollars' in partnership

The firm is partnering with Jonathan Grayer, a former CEO of an education-focused company, to find investments in education, consumer services and marketing.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts is contributing hundreds of millions of dollars as part of a new partnership with former Kaplan CEO Jonathan Grayer, whose company Weld North will identify opportunities in sectors such as media, education, consumer services and marketing.

Weld North has already been established by Grayer and is in the midst of looking at potential investments. Grayer will invest a significant amount of his own money, although the specific amounts that both sides are putting up is unknown. While KKR will have a say in how the combined capital is invested, Grayer and Weld North will take the lead in indentifying and building up acquired companies. 

Grayer resigned from Kaplan, the education services unit of the Washington Post Company, in 2008 after 14 years with the company. During that time, Kaplan shifted its focus from the test-preparation business to for-profit higher education and expansion into Europe, Asia and Australia.

Through the first nine months of 2009, Kaplan generated revenues of $1.92 billion, or roughly 58 percent of the Washington Post’s total sales.

The strategy of partnering with an executive to acquire companies in particular sectors has been utilised by KKR in the past, including the creation of KSL Recreation – a group of destination golf resorts – and Primedia, which was formed to make acquisitions in the publishing industry. More recently, KKR agreed last year to partner with German media group Bertelsmann to license and administer music rights.