SPX, which produces industrial equipment for a variety of industries, emerged as the leader in the sale process earlier this month, said two people, who asked not to be named as the process is private. Gardner Denver canceled meetings with four private-equity firms also bidding, they said.
A deal would mark a victory for activist investor ValueAct Capital Management LLC, which owns 5.1 percent of Gardner Denver’s stock, according to data compiled by Bloomberg as of Sept. 30. The San Francisco-based firm started pushing for a sale in July after Gardner Denver Chief Executive Officer Barry Pennypacker quit.
Vikram Kini, a spokesman for Gardner Denver, and SPX spokesman Ryan Taylor didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment.
Gardner Denver, based in Wayne, Pennsylvania, had hired investment banking firm Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to advise on how to deal with ValueAct, people familiar with the matter said earlier this year. Gardner Denver disclosed in October that it was working with the firm to explore a possible sale. Andrew Williams, a spokesman for Goldman Sachs, declined to comment.
Gardner Denver is valued at about $3.7 billion based on today’s closing share price of $76. Reuters earlier reported that SPX was close to an acquisition of Gardner Denver.
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