Honeywell Makes Bid To Buy French Clothing Company

MORRIS TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — Diversified manufacturer Honeywell International Inc. said Wednesday it is offering roughly $1.1 billion in cash for Sperian Protection, a French company that makes protective clothing The bid comes after a rival unsolicited offer of about $666 million by European buyout firm Cinven.

MORRIS TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — Diversified manufacturer Honeywell International Inc. said Wednesday it is offering roughly $1.1 billion in cash for Sperian Protection, a French company that makes protective clothing

The bid comes after a rival unsolicited offer of about $666 million by European buyout firm Cinven.

Honeywell said the acquisition would help it cut costs, expand its footprint in the safety market around the world and give it a bigger retail presence. Honeywell's safety products division, which includes Norcross Safety Products acquired in 2008, makes respirators and protective head and footgear for firefighters and those working on high voltage lines.

It is offering Sperian shareholders 117 euros ($144.46) per share, a premium of about 67 percent over Cinven's offer of 70 euros per share. Including about $300 million in debt, the deal is valued at $1.4 billion.

Honeywell said shareholders representing 57 percent of Sperian's common stock will have to accept the offer for its takeover to go through. Sperian's board has unanimously approved the deal, and two shareholders holding 28 percent of the company's stock have agreed to vote in favor of the sale.

A spokesman for Cinven said the company is reviewing Honeywell's bid but declined to comment further.

Pending regulatory approvals, Honeywell expects the transaction to close in the third quarter.

Sperian employs nearly 6,000 workers in 13 countries in the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and Africa. It had sales of 660 million euros in 2009. Sperian products include items to protect the eyes and face, hearing, and respiratory functions, clothing, gloves and safety footwear, and fall protection products. Its brands include Howard Leight, Miller, and UVEX.

Honeywell shares fell $1.10, or 2 percent, to $43.62 in afternoon trading amid a broader market decline.

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