KKR Nears Deal to Sell Coffee-Machine Maker WMF to SEB

  • Deal values WMF at about $1.8 billion including debt
  • France’s SEB also agreed to buy Germany’s Emsa last week

Buyout firm KKR & Co. agreed to sell German silverware and coffee-machine maker WMF to France’s SEB SA in a deal valued at about 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion) including debt.

SEB will pay a purchase price of 1 billion euros for WMF, according to a statement Monday. WMF had 565 million euros of debt at of the end of 2015, and 125 million euros in pension liabilities, according to the statement.

“The acquisition of WMF is a new structuring step in our development,” said SEB Chief Executive Officer Thierry de La Tour d’Artaise in the statement. “It allows us to significantly reinforce our positions in small domestic equipment in Germany and add very strong brands to our portfolio.”

“WMF Group has developed strongly as a business since KKR first invested in 2012,” said Johannes P. Huth, head of KKR for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “The company is now well positioned to continue to deliver on its strategic development plan.”

WMF was expected to fetch about 1.8 billion euros ($2 billion), people familiar with the matter previously said. SEB had been competing against Chinese bidders, including KingClean, as well as European companies such as Electrolux AB of Sweden, the people said. KKR first bought a stake in WMF in 2012 and eventually took the company private.

SEB, the maker of Tefal pans and Rowenta household appliances, agreed to buy another German company Emsa, which focuses on thermo jugs and carafes, kitchen utensils and food storage containers, for an undisclosed amount last week.

WMF was founded in Geislingen, Germany, in 1853 and makes equipment for cooking, baking, eating and drinking at home and hotels. The company, which employs about 6,000 people at more than 40 locations globally, reported an increase in sales to 1.06 billion euros in 2015, helped by growth in the U.S. and Asia.

(An earlier version of this story corrected a currency conversion in the first paragraph.)

(Adds KKR comment in fourth paragraph.)
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