Under-pressure KKR poised to take pension money deal

Henry Kravis is about to blink.

In exchange for roughly $3 billion in New York City pension money, Kravis’ KKR & Co. has agreed not to take any piece of the investment’s gain until it surpasses a minimum threshold, sources tell The Post.

It could not be learned what that threshold is, but New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office targets a 7 percent annual return.

The five city pensions, which have a combined $181 billion in assets, expect returns from private market investments like this to at least match the public markets.

However, the KKR money could have a lower or higher minimum, sources familiar with the situation cautioned.

Stringer and NYC Chief Investment Officer Scott Evans are in late-stage negotiations with KKR — the firm immortalized in the book “Barbarians at the Gate” — on the precedent-setting deal, sources said.

The Stringer demand is the latest in a long-simmering battle between state and local pension funds and firms getting alternative investment cash over high fees and low returns.

Pension funds have been pushing the hedge funds and private equity firms to accept fees and profits below the traditional 2 percent management fee and 20 percent of the profits.

Many firms have cut their prices in order to get the pension loot.

Stringer’s pending deal with KKR may be the first in the US to include a zero take of profits below an agreed-upon level of return across a variety of asset classes.

“This is really about investing with a top private equity firm with extremely favorable terms,” one of the sources said.

“Scott has struck a great deal,” the other source said.

KKR is expected to invest the $3 billion across its platforms, including private equity, infrastructure, real estate and credit.

Presently, New York City has no investments with a single asset manager over a variety of its funds.

The deal, if finalized, would mark the first time KKR received NYC pension cash.

If KKR’s blended returns across all investment areas surpass the minimum, the firm will get its piece of the upside, sources said.

Stringer approached several firms about the $3 billion investment, seeking similar terms before selecting KKR, one of the sources said.

“It is a new approach” for pensions, a source said.

Stringer’s choice of KKR is a bit of an eyebrow-raiser.

In 2008, Stringer, then the Manhattan Borough president, took part in a rally in front of KKR’s offices calling on officials to close tax loopholes that allow PE firms to pay a lower tax rate.

KKR, which still takes advantage of the same loopholes Stringer complained about in 2008, made the case in recent meetings with the comptroller that it was working to create sustainable value in the companies it owns by addressing environmental, social and governance challenges, a source said.

KKR’s businesses include credit card processor First Data, GoDaddy and Toys ‘R’ Us.

A Stringer spokesman declined to comment on the talks with the PE firm. KKR declined to comment.

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