Bloomberg News

KKR’s Sonneborn Says European Banks May Step Up Asset Sales

November 16, 2011

Nov. 16 (Bloomberg) -- European banks may sell more than $2.4 trillion of assets over the next two to three years, said William Sonneborn, the head of KKR Asset Management.

“Some of the banks are being much more aggressive now in the context of asset disposition, so you’re starting to see a big step-up in discussions of the banks in selling assets and taking a loss,” Sonneborn said today in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Money Moves.” “In mezzanine or direct-lending businesses, or in our special-situations strategies, there’s an opportunity to take advantage of the European crisis.”

Sonneborn said he’s concerned that U.S. banks are not being transparent about how much they’re at risk from Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis. He said global banks are like an offensive line in football, and if one fails, it would have “substantial ramifications in the global financial system.”

Sonneborn joined KKR & Co., the private-equity firm led by Henry Kravis and George Roberts, in 2008. KKR is seeking investment opportunities beyond traditional leveraged buyouts as the 35-year-old firm seeks new sources of revenue. KKR Asset Management, which was formed in 2004, has more than 100 employees and oversaw $15 billion in assets as of Sept. 30.

--Editors: Christian Baumgaertel, Josh Friedman

To contact the reporters on this story: Devin Banerjee in New York at dbanerjee2@bloomberg.net; Cristina Alesci in New York at calesci2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christian Baumgaertel at cbaumgaertel@bloomberg.net


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