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KKR stock

U.S.-based investment firm KKR & Co reported better-than-expected earnings in the first quarter of 2021, largely driven by a higher level of carried interest and an increase in transaction and management fees.

The company that manages multiple alternative asset classes said its after-tax distributable earnings rose 63% year-over-year to $660 million, or adjusted $0.75 per share, up from $406.3 million seen in the same period a year ago. That was higher than Wall Street’s expectations of $0.62 per share.

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The company, which was formerly known as Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co, said its Assets Under Management (AUM) increased to $367 billion, up 77% year-over-year, with $15 billion of organic new capital raised in the quarter and $51 billion for the LTM period. The acquisition of Global Atlantic contributed $98 billion in 1Q’21.

KKR shares surged more than 38% so far this year. At the time of writing, the stock traded nearly flat at $56.09.

Analyst Comments

“Fee-related earnings of $364M compared to 1Q20 of $258M with transaction fees of $166M vs $98M y/y. The performance fee business recorded +$61M net of compensation which compared to +$138M in the prior-year period. Investment income, which reflects the balance sheet activities, totaled $392M vs. $128M in 1Q20. Ultimately, KKR generated +$660M of after-tax distributable earnings ($0.75/share) and declared a $0.145 dividend in the quarter,” noted Gerald E. O’Hara, equity analyst at Jefferies.

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KKR Stock Price Forecast

Eleven analysts who offered stock ratings for KKR in the last three months forecast the average price in 12 months of $60.00 with a high forecast of $71.00 and a low forecast of $52.00.

The average price target represents a 7.50% increase from the last price of $55.82. Of those 11 analysts, eight rated “Buy”, three rated “Hold” while none rated “Sell”, according to Tipranks.

Morgan Stanley gave the base target price of $60 with a high of $92 under a bull scenario and $22 under the worst-case scenario. The firm gave an “Equal-weight” rating on the investment firm’s stock.

Several other analysts have also updated their stock outlook. KKR & Co. Inc. had its price objective lifted by Deutsche Bank to $52 from $47. They currently have a hold rating on the asset manager’s stock. BMO Capital Markets boosted their target price to $71 from $69. Credit Suisse Group boosted their target price to $60 from $53 and gave the company a neutral rating.

Analyst Comments

“Strong near-term growth with fundraising supercycle and GA accretion coming into earnings, but we see this reflected in the price at the current valuation for a more capital-intensive business model,” noted Michael Cyprys, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley.

“While strong investment performance could drive upward estimate revisions, we have less visibility on more episodic investment income gains. Mgmt’s increased focus on expanding the platform with adjacent strategies and scaling successor funds should drive higher fee-related earnings (FRE).”

Upside and Downside Risks

Risks to Upside: 1) Faster deployment with greater opportunity set. 2) Accelerated portfolio exit activity. 3) Stronger fundraising boosted by seeding of new strategies. 4) Large Insurance M&A – highlighted by Morgan Stanley.

Risks to Downside: 1) Volatile markets leading to weaker investment returns, balance sheet markdowns and delays harvesting of investments pressuring earnings. 2) Increased political and regulatory scrutiny of PE business model.

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