KKR'sWhite House connection

If you think KKR hiring as its head of public affairs the outgoing chairman of the Republican National Committee might blunt the firm's influence in a Democratic Washington, think again.

KennethMehlman, brought on board earlier this year to more effectively tell KKR's story to lawmakers, was classmates with president-elect Barack Obama at Harvard Law School in the early 1990s. Although the two sat on opposite sides of an often rancorous ideological divide, they were sociable at Harvard and have remained friendly up through the most recent election. Mehlman was recently quoted as saying, about his friendship with Obama: “Not everything is about partisanship… A good dinner with good company transcends party politics any day of the week.”

In a recent interview with the New York Times, Republican strategist Karl Rove said of his unlikely rapport with the former Senator: “When Obama came to the White House, we would talk about our mutual friend”Mehlman.

Whether this relationship gets Henry Kravis the ear of the president remains to be seen.

QUOTABLES
“I am going to have a hard time when someone is trying to raise their third or fourth fund and it's going to be $4 billion or $5 billion and they still want to charge 2 per cent.”

Solomon Owayda, chief investment officer of fund of funds SVG Capital, speaking at PEI's Emerging Markets Forum in November in London

“I keep telling people I've spent the last 15 years of my career preparing for the next two.”

Arif Naqvi, founder of Dubai-based Abraaj Capital, sees plenty of opportunity in his firm's target markets in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. Interview with CNBC on 20 October

“I wonder if some of the more aggressive bankers, who have become today's hate figures, might have acted rather differently if they had been personally rewarded only over the long term and only if real value had been shown to have been created. That is the world in which private equity is meant to work.”

Guy Hands, founder of London GP Terra Firma, in a recent letter to investors and friends

“The first thing would be that [US auto makers] acknowledge that there is one too many auto companies and that consolidation needs to take place.”

Bank of America chief executive Kenneth Lewis, quoted by Reuters about his contingent support for a government plan to bail out the US auto industry. Among the ‘big three’ auto makers, one – Chrysler – is owned by Cerberus Capital Management