Legrand deal hits home straight

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Wendel Investissements have confirmed that they are in exclusive talks over a E3.7bn deal for the electronics firm.

US buyout firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and French investment vehicle Wendel Investissements have confirmed that they are in exclusive talks to acquire French plug and switch maker Legrand from Schneider Electric. Wendel Investissements is Compagnie Generale d’Industrie et de Participations (CGIP) and CGIP’s parent Marine Wendel.

In a joint statement, the firms have revealed that a price of E3.7bn has been agreed with Schneider, which,  coupled with Legrand debt of approximately E1.3bn, would value the French firm at around E5bn.

Negotiations over the exact price have a 22 July cut-off date, with final completion of the deal scheduled for year end, subject to competition authorities approval.

The deal would be the largest seen in continental Europe to date, and would surpass the E3.7bn currently on the table from US private equity firm Madison Dearborn for Irish packaging firm Jefferson Smurfit.

The announcement would seem to rule out the possibility of Schneider appealing against the ruling against the merger of Schneider and Legrand last October. The Commission has given Schneider until the end of January 2003 to dispose of Legrand.