KKR to buy Germany's WMF for at least $727 million

FRANKFURT Fri Jul 6, 2012 4:46am EDT

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Buyout firm KKR (KKR.N) is set to buy German cutlery and coffee machines maker WMF AG (WMFG.F) for at least 587 million euros ($727 million), seeking to expand the business in Asia and the United States.

KKR said it has agreed to buy a 52 percent voting stake in WMF from main shareholder Crystal Capital, an investment vehicle controlled by Swiss financial investor Capvis for 47 euros per share.

It would offer the same amount to the remaining owners of ordinary shares with voting rights, equivalent to a premium of about 24 percent over Thursday's closing price.

WMF is a "true German industry champion with significant further growth potential," said Silke Scheiber, director at KKR.

The private equity firm said it would push for "further market penetration and international expansion, especially in Asia and the USA".

Owners of non-voting preference shares will be able to tender their shares for the volume-weighted average stock exchange price of the WMF preference shares during the last three months, but for no less than 31.70 euros apiece.

This offer also applies to Capvis' holding of 5 percent of WMF's preference shares.

Capvis, which bought its stake for 92 million euros in 2006, stands to make at least 238 million euros from the deal.

($1 = 0.8077 euros)

(Reporting by Ludwig Burger and Alexander Huebner; Editing by Erica Billingham)

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