Atlas Copco Scoops Up U.K.'s Edwards Group for Up to $1.2B

By EuropeFOXBusiness

British vacuum pump maker Edwards Group (NASDAQ:EVAC) inked a deal on Monday to be acquired by Swedish engineering group Atlas Copco for up to $1.2 billion.

The deal comes just 15 months after Edwards went public on the Nasdaq Global Select Market at $8.00 a share.

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The transaction values Edwards Group at as much as $10.50 a share, which represents a 24.3% premium to the company’s Friday close at $8.45.

The offer includes a fixed cash payment of $9.25 at closing and an additional payment of up to $1.25 per share after closing that depends on Edwards hitting specific financial targets in 2013.

When including the assumption of debt, the value of the deal rises to approximately $1.6 billion.

Shareholders representing about 84% of Edwards’ outstanding shares have already agreed to vote in favor of the Atco bid.

“The two companies share very similar strategic goals, strong brands and leading market positions. The Edwards brand and reputation will benefit from the support, expertise and financial strength that Atlas Copco will bring,” Edwards CEO Jim Gentilcore said in a statement.

Gentilcore said consensus forecasts from analysts and the company’s “strong start” to the third quarter “lead us to believe it is realistic for us” to hit the financial targets that would deliver an additional cash payment to shareholders “towards the upper end of the range.”

The incentives require Edwards to generate 2013 revenue of 587.5 million pounds to 650 million pounds and adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of 113.9 million pounds to 145 million pounds.

"We recognize the strength of Edwards' people and products as well as their excellence in technology and innovation. We are excited that this professional company will join our group,” said Atlas CEO Ronnie Leten.

The companies said they expect the transaction to close in the first quarter of 2014, subject to shareholder approval, antitrust clearance and other closing conditions.

Shares of Crawley, U.K.-based Edwards jumped 23.08% to $10.40 in premarket trading on Monday.

Barclays (NYSE:BCS) and Lazard (NYSE:LAZ) advised Edwards on the deal.

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