Eaton Corp acquires Cooper Industries

At the end of May, the Eaton Corp announced an agreed take-over bid for Cooper Industries, in a deal worth a quoted $11.8Bn, to be finalized in late 2012. Their statement suggests “the deal will significantly increase the capabilities and geographic breadth of the combined company’s power management portfolio and electrical business”.

The combined company, Eaton Global or a similar name, will be incorporated in Ireland, and led by Alexander M. Cutler, Eaton’s current chairman and ceo. “This compelling combination of Eaton’s power distribution and power quality equipment and systems with Cooper’s diversified component brands, global reach and international distribution creates a game changer to serve the electrical industry,” said Cutler: “This combination significantly expands our ability to better serve our customers with their demands for critical energy saving technologies as they address the impact of the world’s growing energy needs.”

It was in the November INSIDER last year, as well as on, that the start of an Eaton media campaign was reported, which seemed designed to change the historically modest culture and image of Eaton, growing a sharper image backed by flashy corporate videos. What came out of that presentation, actually themed as an “Oil and Gas Technology” day, was that most of the specific oil and gas developments from Eaton involved their Hydraulics business. On the electrical side their involvement is via MV and LV cabinets, switchgear and power systems through MEM in the UK, and Moeller in Europe, two of their relatively recent acquisitions. So the Crouse-Hinds hazardous area enclosures business in Cooper (quoted by Eaton as achieving $1Bn in sales) which contains the original Measurement Technology (MTL) business in intrinsically safe barriers and network protection, will remain the main focus for oil and gas process control and automation expertise within the expanded group. Within Cooper Bussmann, the wireless systems business, based around the ELPRO acquisition in Australia, deals with industrial wireless systems in the utilities, process and factory automation.

The combined company would have had historical 2011 revenues of $21.5 billion and EBITDA of $3.1 billion: they also expect to gain $535m in synergy savings in combining the operations, by 2016. The deal will be financed by cash, debt and equity, with Cooper shareholders owning 27% of the combined company, and with $6.75Bn of bridge financing. It was suggested that this borrowing will be repaid by several tranches of term debt, worth up to $5Bn, and by “the possible sale of assets”. For such asset sales to be significant, the sums involved need to be around $1Bn: so which parts of the business are not in the core?

Readers of the INSIDER will know which businesses appear to be up for sale.

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