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ABB To Acquire Thomas & Betts

ABB to acquire Thomas & Betts for $3.9billion with intent to become major player in North American low-voltage products market. Combined with the Baldor acquisition, this one will allow ABB to continue to expand and become an automation force in North America.

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ABB CEO Joe Hogan announced last year that the company would emphasize growth in North America. This second of two major acquisitions takes the company well along that path. Combine this with a new emphasis on discrete automation solutions that company executives discussed with me last November at the SPS trade fair in Nuremberg, and you can expect ABB to begin to pressure its European rival, Siemens Industry.

Highlights of the announcement include:
 

-- ABB and Thomas & Betts announce agreement pursuant to which ABB will acquire Thomas & Betts for $72 per share in cash

-- ABB gains access to Thomas & Betts network of more than 6,000 distributor locations and wholesalers in North America

-- Transaction doubles ABB’s addressable low-voltage products market to approximately $24 billion in North America and enables distribution of Thomas & Betts products through ABB’s extensive global network

-- Furthers ABB’s 2015 strategy to expand its geographic and product scope in one of its most profitable businesses

-- Approximately $200 million in expected annual synergies by 2016

 

ABB (www.abb.com), a power and automation technology leader, and Thomas & Betts Corporation (www.tnb.com), a North American leader in low voltage products, announced Jan. 30 that both companies’ boards of directors have agreed to a transaction in which ABB will acquire Thomas & Betts for $72 per share in cash or approximately $3.9 billion.

The acquisition price represents a 24 percent premium to Thomas & Betts’ closing stock price on Jan. 27, 2012 and a 35 percent premium to the volume weighted average stock price over the past 60 trading days. The transaction is subject to approval by Thomas & Betts shareholders as well as to customary regulatory approvals, and is expected to close by the middle of 2012.

The complementary combination of Thomas & Betts’ electrical components and ABB’s low-voltage protection, control and measurement products would create a broader low voltage portfolio that can be distributed through Thomas & Betts’ network of more than 6,000 distributor locations and wholesalers in North America, and through ABB’s well established distribution channels in Europe and Asia. The combined product portfolio and enhanced distribution network will enable ABB to double its addressable market in North America to approximately $24 billion.

“Thomas & Betts is a well-run company with strong brands and excellent distribution channels in the world’s largest low-voltage products market,” said Joe Hogan, ABB’s CEO. “Because our products are complementary, we’ll go to market with one of the broadest offerings in the industry. That creates strong growth opportunities for both ABB and Thomas & Betts, and gives customers and distributors one-stop access to one of the widest ranges of low voltage products.

“Strategically, it’s a great fit,” Hogan added. “This is another big step toward our goal of expanding our presence in the key North American market. The transaction clearly supports our 2015 growth and profitability targets, and meets all of our return-on-investment criteria for creating shareholder value.&rdquo

“This transaction delivers significant value to our shareholders and will enable Thomas & Betts to accelerate our global growth strategy,” said Thomas & Betts Chairman and CEO Dominic J. Pileggi. “The combination will also enable us to provide our North American customers and distributor network with a broader portfolio of products and will provide long-term opportunities to our partner for our business going forward.”

Thomas & Betts, combined with ABB’s North American low-voltage products business, will become a new global business unit led out of Memphis, TN, under the leadership of Pileggi.

Thomas & Betts employs approximately 9,400 people and is estimated to report 2011 revenues of approximately $2.3 billion and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of approximately $390 million. The company will report its full-year results later today Central European Time. Its main business is the manufacture of low-voltage and ultralow-voltage electrical products such as connectors, conduits and fittings as well as wiring management products for the construction, industrial and utilities markets. These are complementary to the offering of ABB’s Low Voltage

Products division, which includes products such as breakers and switches. In addition, Thomas & Betts has a leading logistics model with its distributors that allows simple, single invoicing and fast delivery of its full product scope. Thomas & Betts also supplies towers for electrical power transmission and has a business that produces heating, ventilation and air conditioning units, both new to ABB but related to its core power and automation focus.

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