Bain Capital Said to Be in Advanced Talks to Acquire Apex Tool

Bain Capital LLC is in advanced talks to buy Apex Tool Group LLC, the maker of Craftsman hand tools that is owned by Danaher Corp. (DHR) and Cooper Industries Plc (CBE), said a person with knowledge of the matter.

Bain may end up paying $1.5 billion to $1.8 billion for Apex, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. While Boston-based Bain has emerged as the lead bidder in the sale process, the talks could still collapse, this person said.

Apex, based in Sparks, Maryland, describes itself as one of the world’s largest makers of hand and power tools. It has dozens of its own brands, including GearWrench ratchets, and makes some of the tools sold by Sears. Apex had net income of $134 million on sales of $1.46 billion last year, according to a Cooper regulatory filing. Apex employs 7,600 people, according to its website.

Danaher and Cooper formed Apex in 2010 by combining their tool businesses and naming Steve Breitzka, previously the head of the Danaher tool unit, chief executive officer. Each has a 50 percent stake.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) is advising on the sale, people familiar with the situation said in March.

Alex Stanton, a spokesman for Bain at Stanton Public Relations & Marketing, didn’t respond to phone and e-mail requests for comment. Calls made to Apex, Danaher and Cooper after normal business hours weren’t answered.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that Bain is near a deal to acquire Apex.

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