Exclusive: Kohlberg looking to sell Singer sewing machine company - sources

Wed Mar 12, 2014 3:51pm EDT

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(Reuters) - The Singer sewing machine company, largely credited with helping develop the U.S. fashion industry by allowing clothes to be made more cheaply and efficiently, is exploring a sale that could fetch more than $500 million, three people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

Singer, part of the world's largest sewing machine company, SVP Worldwide, is owned by private equity firm Kohlberg & Company LLC. It is working with investment bank Harris Williams on the potential sale, the people said.

The people declined to be named because the matter is private.

Kolhberg, SVP Worldwide and Harris Williams could not be reached for comment.

SVP was formed by 2006 merger of the Swedish VSM Group, which included the Husqvarna Viking and Pfaff brands, with Kohlberg, which owned the Singer brand. The company also sells machines for embroidery and quilting, as well as garment care products like irons and ironing boards.

The company has roughly $65 million in annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, the sources said. It sells its products in more than 170 countries and has a greater than 30 percent global market share, according to the Kohlberg website.

Founded in 1851, Singer's machine improved over previous sewing machine models by allowing users to sew 900 stitches per minute, compared with the 250 stitches previously. The change allowed clothing to be made more quickly and cheaply, helping lead to the establishment of mass production in the fashion industry.

(Reporting by Olivia Oran in New York; additional reporting by Greg Roumeliotis; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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