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KKR and Jonathan Grayer launch Weld North

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Jonathan Grayer, former chairman and chief executive of Kaplan, have launched Weld North.

Weld North will identify acquisition opportunities and invest in and operate a variety of businesses in the consumer services, education, media, personal services and marketing sectors, among others.

Grayer (pictured) served as chief executive of Kaplan, a provider of educational services, from 1994 to 2008 during which time he oversaw the firm’s expansion from a USD80mi US-focused test preparation company into a for-profit education corporation with over USD2.3bn in revenues.

“The core lessons from the Kaplan experience were first and foremost that by improving the customer experience, enhancing the use of technology and migrating to experiential web based marketing, we were able to build a series of world class products and services that led to 15 years of uninterrupted growth,” says Grayer. “I am delighted to begin work with KKR to invest in and operate companies well-positioned to benefit from these trends in the sectors I know and understand well. In today’s investment climate, there is a tremendous opportunity to create long-term value and KKR is the perfect partner in this exciting enterprise.”

“Our partnership with Jonathan Grayer is the culmination of ten years of friendship and admiration of Jonathan’s expertise in growing education and consumer service oriented businesses into world-class enterprises,” says Henry Kravis, co-founder of KKR. “Jonathan’s superb track record demonstrates his ability to identify and engineer the growth of enterprises about to enter a transformational period. KKR has a long history of investing for the operational growth and development of companies, often providing the critical support necessary to achieve positive change. We view our approach as highly complementary to Jonathan’s, and look forward to working with him on new initiatives.”

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