Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The son of Ray Kravis , a Tulsa oil engineer who had been a business partner of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., Henry Kravis majored in economics at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California before going on to Columbia University where he received an MBA degree in 1969.
Henry Kravis' has been married three times; his first wife died young and their 18-year-old son was killed in an automobile accident. He remarried, to New York designer Carolyn Roehm, but it ended in divorce. He is now married to the prominent French-Canadian economist, Marie-Josée Drouin, a Fellow of the Hudson Institute and a participant in the Bilderberg Group.
A supporter of right-wing politics, and a major contributor to the failed 1992 re-election campaign of President George H. W. Bush, in 1997 Henry Kravis joined with Edgar Bronfman, Sr. and Lewis Eisenberg , to establish the Republican Leadership Council . Beyond politics, Kravis has given a great deal of money and his personal time to charitable causes. He funds the Henry Kravis Leadership Institute () that sponsors the leadership studies programs at his alma mater, Claremont McKenna College, and the "Henry Kravis Internships for Teachers of Color," He is a benefactor and a past Chairman of New York's public television station and sits on the board of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A Trustee of Mount Sinai Medical Center , Henry and Marie-Josée Kravis donated $15 million to establish the "Center for Cardiovascular Health" as well as funding a Professorship.
After working at various jobs in New York City's financial sector, he and his cousin, George R. Roberts, joined the staff of Bear, Stearns, and Company. There, they worked under the corporate finance manager, Jerome Kohlberg, Jr.. In 1976, the three men left Bear, Stearns to set up their own investment company, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) where Henry Kravis helped develop the acquisition concept known as the leveraged buyout (LBO). Kravis and his associates created a series of limited partnerships to acquire various corporations, ones they judged were performing well below their sales and profit potential. In most cases, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co put up ten percent of the acquisition price from its own funds and borrowed the rest from investors by issuing high-yield bonds. In the 1980s, these high-yield bonds, which were also high risk, became known as "junk bonds." Investment bankers such as Drexel Burnham Lambert, led by Michael Milken, raised enormous amounts of money for leveraged buyouts. Once the targeted company was successfully taken over, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co then organized a drastic restructuring, selling off selected assets or subsidiaries and implementing a series of cost-cutting measures. The new, "leaner and more efficient" company was then resold, at a huge profit.
In 1987, Jerome Kohlberg, Jr. resigned from the firm, and Henry Kravis succeeded him as senior partner. Under Kravis, the firm was responsible for the 1988 leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco. At a cost of $24.88 billion, it was then the highest price ever paid for a commercial enterprise. The publicity surrounding the event led to the story being dramatized in the book and film, Barbarians at the Gate. In early 1995, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co divested its remaining holdings in RJR Nabisco.
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