DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
Private-equity firm Clayton Dubilier & Rice Inc. agreed to invest $477 million in JohnsonDiversey Inc. for a 46% equity interest as part of a broader recapitalization deal valued at $2.6 billion.
The recapitalization will provide the privately held cleaning-products company with financial flexibility to grow and reduced Unilever PLC's (UN, ULVR.LN) stake from a third to 4%. The deal includes a debt-financing package of about $1.9 billion.
Unilever has owned a third of JohnsonDiversey since the latter's acquisition of DiverseyLever in 2002. Unilever will receive $158 million in cash and $250 million of senior notes with a 10.5% coupon. As part of the 2002 deal, JohnsonDiversey agreed to purchase all or part of Unilever's ownership at a future date.
JohnsonDiversey, which has a heavy debt burden, has been undergoing a major restructuring that is expected to conclude this year. It is the second-largest provider of cleaning products to commercial and industrial clients after Ecolab Inc. (ECL) and sells to North American clients through distributors. The companies have been catering to offices, hotels, hospitals and schools seeking to be more environmentally friendly as well as to save money on cleaning supplies.
Under the new agreement, the Johnson family of Racine, Wis., will own half of JohnsonDiversey and S. Curtis Johnson will remain chairman. CD&R operating partner James Berges will be chairman of the executive committee.
JohnsonDiversey, which plans to change its name to Diversey Inc., will continue to sell some Unilever and S.C. Johnson & Son Inc. products.
JohnsonDiversey has annual sales of more than $3 billion in more than 175 countries, serving customers in the building, retail, health-care and food-and-beverage sectors as well as government clients.
-By Kathy Shwiff, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2357; Kathy.Shwiff@dowjones.com