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Baldor Owner ABB to Buy Thomas & Betts for $3.9 Billion

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Swiss power and technology group ABB, which purchased Baldor Electric Co. of Fort Smith in 2010, said Monday that it will buy Thomas & Betts Corp. of Memphis, which specializes in low voltage electrical products, for $3.9 billion in cash.

The board of Thomas & Betts has accepted the deal and recommended it to its shareholders.

ABB says the price of $72 a share is a 24 percent premium over Thomas & Betts’ closing stock price on Jan. 27.

ABB says the deal is part of its strategy to increase its market presence in North America.
Thomas & Betts employs about 9,400 people and is forecast to report 2011 revenues of about $2.3 billion.

ABB’s $4.2 billion purchase of Baldor marked the company’s entrance into the U.S. ABB has retained the Baldor brand, its management and its Fort Smith headquarters.

At the time of the deal, Baldor, which makes electric motors and drives, was the seventh-largest publicly traded company in Arkansas by revenue, with $1.52 billion in sales in 2009 and $1.95 billion in 2008. It employed about 7,000 people in various locations in the U.S., Canada, England, Mexico and China.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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