Atlas Copco to Buy Edwards Group in $1.6 Billion Deal

Swedish air compressor maker Atlas Copco AB plans to buy vacuum product maker Edwards Group Ltd. in a cash deal worth up to $1.18 billion.

Atlas said Monday it will pay up to $10.50 per share for each share of Edwards. That includes a fixed payment of $9.25 and an additional $1.25 after the closing, depending on whether Edwards' 2013 revenue and adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization fall within certain ranges.

The total per-share price amounts to a premium of 24% to the $8.45 closing price of Edwards' U.S.-traded shares on Friday. Edwards stock is traded on the Nasdaq exchange under the ticker symbol "EVAC."

The deal is valued at about $1.6 billion including the assumption of debt.

Atlas said the acquisition of the British company gives it an opportunity to expand into a growing business that serves industries it knows well.

Edwards also makes abatement systems, and its products are used in making flat panel displays and solar cells, among other things. In addition to compressors, Atlas also produces air treatment systems and construction and mining equipment, among many other items.

The companies expect the deal to close in next year's first quarter, pending antitrust clearance and approval from Edwards shareholders. Both boards have approved it, and Atlas said Edwards shareholders representing about 84% of its current outstanding shares have agreed to vote for the deal.

Edwards Group shares had an initial public offering on the Nasdaq exchange in May 2012 and closed at $8.75 on their first trading day. The stock closed 2012 at $6.08 but has climbed about 35% so far this year.

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