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Billionaire’s MSC Acquires Barnes Unit for $550 Million

MSC Industrial Direct Co., the office and industrial equipment supplier that’s made Chairman Mitchell Jacobson a billionaire, said it will buy Barnes Group Inc.’s North American distribution business for $550 million.

The deal will boost earnings by 15 cents to 20 cents a share in fiscal 2014, and 30 cents to 40 cents in 2015, MSC said today in a statement. Melville, New York-based MSC is expanding as customers buy more power saws, snowblowers and copy paper, sending the stock up 13 percent this year.

The Barnes unit is “a well-run, high-margin business with a strong value proposition,” MSC Chief Financial Officer Jeff Kaczka said in the statement. “We are getting a new platform that provides several growth avenues.”

Jacobson is MSC’s largest shareholder and had a net worth of $1.3 billion as of Feb. 20, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He owns more than 9.2 million shares, most of which is Class B stock that converts to Class A shares on a 1-for-1 basis, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

MSC is the world’s third-largest office and industrial equipment provider. Its Feb. 19 close of $86.54 was the highest since MSC’s 1995 initial public offering. The stock climbed 2.6 percent to $85.24 today. Its 2013 advance has outpaced the 8.2 percent gain for the Standard & Poor’s Midcap 400 Index.

Barnes, based in Bristol, Connecticut, makes metal parts and distributes industrial products including aircraft engine components. The company’s shares surged 15 percent today to $28.10 for their biggest daily gain since April 2009.

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