Kelso & Company

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Kelso & Company
Private Ownership
Industry Private Equity
Founded 1971; 46 years ago (1971)
Headquarters New York City, New York, United States
Products Private equity funds, Leveraged buyouts, Recapitalizations, Growth capital
Total assets $11.2 billion

Kelso & Company is a private equity investment firm focusing on leveraged buyouts, recapitalizations and growth capital transactions. Kelso invests in a variety of sectors, including communication, manufacturing and restaurants. Kelso is based in New York City.

Kelso also provides mezzanine capital through a joint venture with asset management firm BlackRock. Their joint venture, BlackRock Kelso Capital Corp. (NASDAQBKCC), is organized as a type of publicly traded private equity company known as a Business Development Company.


Founded in 1971 as Kelso Bangert & Company, the firm acted as both an advisor and merchant bank, both making investments and advising in mergers and acquisitions. Kelso was founded by Louis O. Kelso, a lawyer and economist who is given credit for developing the concept for employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), in 1956. Kelso, alongside a sister company Louis O. Kelso Inc., focused initially on M&A activity involving Employee Stock Ownership Plans.[1]

Kelso raised its first private equity fund and has had a dedicated private equity investment platform since 1980. Louis O. Kelso who died in 1991 transitioned management of the firm to Joseph Schuchert to focus on writing and lecturing.[1][2] Today the firm is headed by Frank T. Nickell who joined the firm in 1977.

In June of 2016, Kelso closed its latest fund at $2.6 billion.[3]


Since 1980, the firm has raised approximately $10.1 billion of investor commitments to its private equity funds and was among the 50 largest private equity firms globally. Since its inception, the firm has made investments in over 90 companies representing more than $31 billion of aggregate purchase price.

Kelso & Company has invested in energy, materials, retailing, industrial and consumer products, telecommunication services, financial services, and healthcare sectors.[4] The company typically invests in North America with a focus on the United States. It targets investing between $50 million and $600 million in firms that have a value of between $250 million and $2.5 billion.[4]


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