Swiss engineering giant ABB Ltd was near an agreement Sunday to acquire U.S. manufacturer Thomas & Betts Corp for about $4 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported on its Website Sunday, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter.
An agreement could be announced as soon as Monday, though the talks could still fall apart, the paper said, citing the same unnamed sources.
Memphis-based Thomas & Betts makes electrical components for industrial companies in the United States, Canada and Europe. It had sales of about $2 billion in 2010 and is scheduled to report its 2011 and fourth quarter results on Monday, the paper said.
Zurich-based ABB, which makes power and automation systems for utilities and other big industrial companies, has told investors it was seeking acquisitions that could boost its annual growth by as much as 4 percent.
The potential deal also could signal a revival in merger activity more broadly.
(Reporting By Joseph A. Giannone)