Fidelity and KKR Seal Deal

Fidelity Investments of Boston and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) in New York have announced an agreement to give Fidelity's retail and institutional brokerage customers exclusive access to IPOs and follow-on offerings underwritten by KKR. While the relationship is effective immediately, implementation depends on when the first IPO from KKR becomes available.

The agreement applies to accounts managed by Fidelity's registered investment advisor (RIA), correspondent broker-dealer and other institutional clients, as well as its retail brokerage customers. And while the arrangement gives such clients normally elusive access to IPOs, it also provides "a new retail distribution channel for KKR's capital markets business," a KKR spokesperson said.

"Because KKR will use Fidelity exclusively, our customers will have access to IPOs from a private equity firm that no one else has," said Mark Haggerty, president of Fidelity Capital Markets. "While it's no secret that the IPO market has slowed over the past couple of years, we are beginning to see signs that it may be picking up momentum. As it grows," Haggerty added, "we believe this will be of great value to our customers."

As part of the alliance Fidelity and KKR may also offer directed share programs (DSPs) to issuers who want to place securities directly to employees and other investors in connection with a new issue offering. Moreover, Fidelity may consider expanding this offering in the future with IPOs from other firms as well.

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