KKR in advanced talks to acquire landscaper Brickman -sources

NEW YORK Fri Nov 8, 2013 6:00pm EST

NEW YORK Nov 8 (Reuters) - Private equity firm KKR & Co LP is in advanced talks to acquire Brickman Group Holdings Inc, the largest U.S. commercial landscaping company, two people familiar with the matter said on Friday, in a deal projected at around $1.5 billion.

KKR outbid other private equity firms in the auction for Brickman, including TPG Capital LP and Blackstone Group LP , the people said, cautioning that negotiations had not yet been finalized and noting the outcome could still change.

Leonard Green & Partners LP, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm, had asked Barclays Plc and Morgan Stanley to run a sale process for Brickman, people familiar with the matter told Reuters in August.

KKR, Leonard Green, Brickman, Blackstone and TPG did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Gaithersburg, Maryland-based Brickman tends to the gardens of offices, campuses, hotels, shopping centers, healthcare facilities, industrial parks and homes, looks after trees, removes snow and maintains sports turf across 29 states.

Leonard Green acquired a majority stake in Brickman in January 2007 in a $847 million deal in which members of the Brickman family and the company's management retained equity interests. The buyout firm committed $222 million of equity to the deal, according to a November 2006 regulatory filing.

Scott Brickman, whose grandfather founded the eponymous company in 1939, stepped down as chief executive last year after 14 years at the helm to become its chairman. He succeeded his father Dick, who became chairman emeritus.

Brickman's CEO is now Andrew Kerin, a former senior executive at Aramark Corp, another private equity-backed company.