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WSJ: KKR Reaches Deal To Buy Gardner Denver For $76 Per Share

Private equity firm KKR (KKR) has reached a deal to buy Gardner Denver Inc. (GDI), a manufacturer of industrial-pumps, for $76 per share, the Wall Street Journal reported, quoting a person familiar with the matter.

An announcement regarding the deal, which values the firm at around $3.74 billion, may be made as early as Friday. KKR's board was meeting late Thursday to approve the transaction.

It was reported last month that KKR offered to acquire the industrial equipment maker for $75 per share, with that proposed deal valuing the company at about $3.68 billion. The offer has now been raised as Gardner sought a higher price.

The deal would be the third for KKR in as many years in the industrials space. The buyout firm agreed to buy Capsugel, a unit of drugmaker Pfizer Inc. (PFE), in April 2011. Later in the same year, KKR agreed to acquire Capital Safety Inc., a provider of safety products and equipment for construction and other workers.

In late October 2012, Gardner had 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.

KKR's initial offer came after two other suitors for Gardner Denver reportedly walked away from the bidding process as the company 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 were reportedly withdrawn, partly due to lack of cooperation on part of Gardner Denver's management.

Bloomberg had reported in early January that Gardner 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).

GDI closed on Thursday at $73.85. KKR closed down 0.3 percent at $18.80.

by RTT Staff Writer

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