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Anixter Sale Said to Falter as Buyers Balk at Price

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Billionaire Sam Zell
Sam Zell, chairman and co-founder of Equity International Inc., pauses during a Bloomberg Television interview in New York, on Aug. 30, 2011. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

April 1 (Bloomberg) -- An effort to sell Anixter International Inc., the wiring parts maker that counts billionaire Sam Zell among its investors, has stalled as potential buyers reject the company’s price expectations, according to several people familiar with the matter.

French electrical-equipment distributor Rexel SA, which was earlier considered one of the more likely buyers, passed on making an offer, two of the people said, asking not to be identified discussing private information. Private-equity funds Advent International Corp. and CVC Capital Partners Ltd., also chose not to bid after looking at the asset, two people said.

The company was seeking offers of more than $115 per share -- about 13 percent above yesterday’s close of $101.52 -- while Rexel wasn’t willing to pay more than $110, one of the people said. Anixter’s shares gained 45 percent in the year through yesterday, giving the company a market value of $3.3 billion. The stock fell 5 percent to $96.45 today.

While Anixter, whose products are installed in office buildings and data centers, stands to profit from a pickup in non-residential construction, the private-equity funds weren’t convinced of its growth prospects, two people said. Sales, which fell slightly to $6.23 billion in 2013, should grow in the “mid-single digit” range, the company said in February.

The sale effort, directed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc., is now in limbo and likely to be terminated, the people said. Carlyle Group LP and Melrose Industries Plc also looked and chose not to bid, people with knowledge of the matter said in February.

Dawn Marks, a spokeswoman for Glenview, Illinois-based Anixter declined to comment, as did Andrew Williams at Goldman Sachs and spokesmen for Advent, CVC and Rexel.

The company’s largest shareholder is Chai Trust Co., a division of Zell’s Equity Group Investments. Sam Zell is chairman of Anixter and his son Matthew is a director.

To contact the reporters on this story: David Welch in New York at; Matthew Campbell in London at; Jodi Xu in New York at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Mohammed Hadi at Aaron Kirchfeld

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