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Reports: KKR Nears Deal To Buy Gardner Denver For More Than $75/share

3/4/2013 10:36 PM ET

Private equity firm KKR & Co. L.P. (KKR: Quote) is nearing a deal to buy industrial equipment maker Gardner Denver Inc. (GDI: Quote) for more than $75 per share, according to media reports on Monday.

In mid-February, media reports had indicated that New York-based KKR offered to acquire Gardner Denver for $75 per share, in a deal that valued the company at about $3.68 billion.

KKR's offer, which put it as a front-runner to acquire Gardner Denver, came after two other suitors reportedly walked away from the bidding process as Gardner Denver was said to be slow in assisting them with due diligence. A joint offer by Onex Corp. and TPG Capital and a separate offer from Advent International Corp. were reportedly withdrawn, partly due to lack of cooperation on part of Gardner Denver's management.

However, KKR has now reportedly increased the offer price after Gardner Denver's board sought a higher price. Gardner Denver closed Monday's trading at $73.62, valuing the company at $3.62 billion.

In late October 2012, Gardner Denver said its board was exploring strategic alternatives to enhance shareholder value, including enhancing the company's existing strategic plan or a possible sale or merger.

Bloomberg reported in early January that Gardner Denver attracted renewed interest from private equity firms KKR and Advent International Corp. after the company ended merger talks with diversified machinery company SPX Corp. (SPW).

SPX was said to have offered about $85 per share in cash and stock to buy Gardner Denver and was in exclusive talks in early December 2012 to buy the company.

In late February, Gardner Denver reported an 11 percent decline in profit for the fourth quarter on the back of lower revenues, especially in its Engineered Products Group. The company's net income for the quarter was $69.06 million or $1.40 per share, down from $77.38 million or $1.52 per share in the year-ago period. Revenue declined 4 percent to $589.67 million from $613.67 million in the same period last year.

GDI closed Monday's trading at $73.62, up $2.59 or 3.65 percent on a volume of 2.21 million shares. In after-hours, the stock further gained $0.37 or 0.50 percent to $73.99.

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by RTT Staff Writer

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