Private equity offers pour in to Ashland - sources
Ashland Inc, a chemical manufacturer is in talks with at least seven private equity firms to sell its water technologies unit in a deal that could reach more than USD 1.5 bilion, according to sources.
According to Reuter's sources, the following are among the firms that are locked in the bidding phase of the water unit: Advent International Corp, Apollo Global Management LLC, Bain Capital LLC, Goldman Sachs Group Inc's private equity arm, Onex Corp, Rhone Group LLC and TPG Capital LP. The water technology business has earnings before tax, interest, depreciation and amortization roughly at about USD 200 million and could fetch eight times that amount, or more. The details of the auction are classified. Ashland and the PE firms declined to comment on the deal.
The water technology business, which is Ashland's third largest among its four units, supplies chemicals to industries that include pulp, paper and mining. Due to mounting pressure from activist investor Jana Partners LLC, Ashland announced in July that it had asked Citigroup Inc to provide options for its water technology unit. This month, Ashland announced the sale and is expected to complete within the first quarter of 2014.