Blackstone, Bain join Chinese Maytag bid

The two private equity giants have teamed with Haier Group, China’s largest maker of household appliances, in a $1.28 bid for Maytag, a struggling US maker of washing machines that already has a buyout deal inked with Ripplewood Holdings.

The Blackstone Group and Bain Capital have reportedly teamed with China’s Haier Group to bid on Maytag, a storied US maker of home appliances that has fallen on hard times.

The Haier group is reportedly bidding $1.28 billion (€1.05 billion) for Maytag, topping by 14 percent an existing agreement the company has with a Ripplewood-led consortium.

Publicly traded Maytag, based in Ohio makes Hoover vacuums and Amana and Jenn-Air appliances.

The news marks a major step by a Chinese strategic player into the US market, as well as an indication that US private equity firms are increasingly focused on synergies with China’s vast manufacturing potential. Earlier this year, Texas Pacific Group, General Atlantic and Newbridge Capital contributed $350 million to the buyout if IBM’s personal computer unit by China’s Lenovo Group.

In a statement, Maytag lead director Howard Clark said: “We continue to support the Ripplewood transaction. However, we also believe that it is incumbent on us to pursue this possibility of achieving a higher price for our stockholders.”

Haier Group controls Qingdau Haier Refrigerator and Haeier Electronics Group, listed in Shanghai and Hong Kong, respectively.

Blackstone recently announced plans to open an office in India, and has evaluated plans in China and Japan as well, according to a source close to the firm.