Danaher Corp (DHR.N) and Cooper Industries CBE.N agreed to sell their hand and power tools joint venture, Apex Tool Group, to Bain Capital for about $1.6 billion, joining the growing trend among U.S. conglomerates to shed non-core assets.
Danaher and Cooper each own 50 percent of Apex, which makes Crescent wrenches, Lufkin measuring tapes and hand tools for Sears Holdings Corp's (SHLD.O) Craftsman brand.
Apex rival Stanley Black & Decker Inc (SWK.N) said on Tuesday it would sell its door lock and bath fixture business to Spectrum Brands Holdings Inc (SPB.N) for $1.4 billion to concentrate on its higher-margin businesses, including hand and power tools.
Apex was formed in July 2010 by combining the tool businesses of Danaher and Cooper, which is in the process of being acquired by Eaton Corp (ETN.N) for $11.8 billion.
Eaton is primarily interested in Cooper's line of electrical products, such as lighting and wiring devices.
Apex, based in Sparks, Maryland, has annual revenue of about $1.5 billion and employs about 8,000 people in 30 countries, according to its website.
Danaher said it would receive about $650 million in net proceeds from the sale, which is expected to close in the first half of 2013. A statement from Cooper did not mention proceeds.
Danaher, which makes medical as well as industrial products, said last month that it would buy Iris International Inc IRIS.O for about $355 million to expand its medical diagnostics business.
Reuters reported in September that Bain, the private equity firm co-founded by U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney, was close to buying Apex, prevailing over Platinum Equity LLC and American Securities LLC in an auction.
Goldman Sachs was Apex's exclusive financial adviser.
(Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Bangalore; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Ted Kerr)