Is the fiscal cliff as scary as everyone says that it is?  Ken Mehlman of KKR was interviewed by Debra Borchardt of The Street about the threat of the fiscal cliff and possible outlooks for 2013, and contrary to popular thought he explained that, if you stick to fundamentals, investments during this time might be a very good idea.

“We have found over the years that time like this are actually the best time to invest. If you look back historically at our track record, the periods where there was economic volatility and economic dislocation, we made some of our best investments,” Ken Mehlman explained in the interview. “So we think that this is actually a good time to invest if you focus on the fundamentals. It doesn’t meant that you don’t need to pay attention to these other issues, but the fundamentals matter most.”

Mehlman went on to explain that, while government austerity might have a negative effect in the beginning of 2013, KKR expects that the end of the year will be better for all involved.

“We are generally looking at things getting better as the second half of the year goes on in part because if you look at corporate balance sheets- if you look at the improving housing market- all of these things are trends that we think are positive.”

Watch the entirety of the piece below, or check it out on The Deal’s website.

The past year has seen private equity companies becoming far more public than ever before. With former private equity Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in the spotlight, countless remarks, ads, and campaigns were pointed in their direction.

But Ken Mehlman has spent the past year keeping that fire under control. As the Global Head of Public Affairs for KKR, previous head of the RNC, and President G.W. Bush’s campaign manager, he knows how to get a message out to the public.

 

Private equity firms don’t traditionally like to share any information with the public or the media about operations or any specifics, and that has caused a number of misconceptions to arise. By working with the Private Equity Growth Capital Council (PEGCC), Ken Mehlman has successfully spearheaded the movement to get that information out there.

 

“Private equity is no longer private,” he says of the recent limelight the industry has been receiving in a piece with Fortune Magazine.

 

One of the misconceptions he’s working to overcome is that private equity is a heartless firm, when in fact they often pay close attention to what people want and need. “You can’t invest in large businesses around the world today unless you are willing to help provide a thorough understanding of who you really are, and engage around issues that affect things like the environment, workers, and local communities.”

 

Another thing to remember, Mehlman says, is that private equity provides a nice boost to the economy, taking bigger risks than most companies and therefore seeing a bigger return. By doing so, they are able to turn struggling companies around, rather than letting them fail. They can provide valuable resources and training to portfolio companies as well.

 

Ken Mehlman has been the leading influencer for getting PEGCC to the successful point it is at today. He provided a vision and helped the movement of taking a traditionally guarded industry and making it visible and transparent to the American public.

Ken Mehlman, who oversees global external affairs for the New York-based private equity firm KKR & Co., was the keynote speaker at an event for institutional investors hosted by Crain’s Detroit Business and Pensions & Investments.

During the event, Mehlman talked about the changing nature of the private equity business, especially in light of the recent election and how Romney explained, or failed to explain, his association with the private equity business.

According to Mehlman, this caused the general American public to generate quite a few negative opinions about private equity.

To read the full piece in MiBiz, and find out more about the nature of private equity click here.