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VAT Valve Owners Said to Hire Leonardo for $500 Million Sale

VAT Valve’s family owners have hired Leonardo Inc. as an adviser to help sell the Swiss vacuum-valve maker priced at more than $500 million, according to two people with knowledge of the situation.

VAT Valve has annual sales of more than $300 million and may attract bids from OC Oerlikon Corp. of Switzerland, Eaton Corp., and private-equity investors, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the process is private.

The planned sale of the Haag-based company, which employs about 1,000, follows the death of its founder Siegfried Schertler in 2010. VAT Valve has moved into components for the flat screen and photovoltaic markets under Richard Fischer, who took over running of the business in 1984.

Spokespeople for VAT Valve and Leonardo couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Oerlikon could raise 1.2 billion Swiss francs ($1.27 billion) for takeovers if needed, Chief Executive Officer Michael Buscher said in a March 5 interview. The focus is on adding assets to existing units making vacuum pumps and coatings for cars. Oerlikon head of investor relations Andreas Schwarzwaelder declined to comment on any speculation.

Eaton highlighted March 1 it will continue to look at potential targets as they come up. Eaton spokesman Gary Klasen declined to comment.

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