Private equity firm Bain Capital agreed on Wednesday to buy Apex Tool Group, the maker of Craftsman products, from Danaher Corp. (NYSE: DHR) and Cooper Industries Plc (NYSE: CBE), for about $1.6 billion.
Craftsman is one one of the oldest and best-known names in the tools business. The deal is the latest for Bain Capital, of Boston, which was co-founded by the Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 1984.
Conglomerates have been moving to shed assets as they look to focus on their core businesses. On Tuesday, Stanley Black & Decker Inc. (NYSE: SWK), an Apex competitor, agreed to sell its hardware and home improvement unit to Spectrum Brands Holdings Inc. (NYSE: SPB) for $1.4 billion.
Danaher is an industrial and medical equipment manufacturer based in Washington, D.C. Cooper is headquartered in Ireland and makes electrical components and tools. They each own 50 percent of Apex, which makes Crescent wrenches, Lufkin measuring tapes and hand tools for Sears Holdings Corp.’s (Nasdaq: SHLD) Craftsman brand. Under the terms of the deal, Danaher said it would earn $650 million.
Sparks, Maryland-based Apex was formed in July 2010 by blending the tool businesses of Danaher and Cooper, which is in the process of being acquired by Eaton Corp. (NYSE: ETN), of Cleveland.
Apex currently employs more than 8,000 people worldwide and has revenues of approximately $1.5 billion, according to the company’s website.
The acquisition of Apex is expected to close in the first half of next year.
Shares of Danaher Corp. (NYSE: DHR) closed lower Tuesday, down 2.5 percent, while shares of Cooper Industries Plc (NYSE: CBE) fell 0.5 percent.