Stanley cuts £94m deal with Blick

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The Independent Online

Stanley works, the US company which makes Stanley knives, yesterday unveiled plans to carve out a presence in Europe with a £94m offer for Britain's Blick.

The offer values the Swindon-based company at 300p a share, with investors also in line for a special dividend of 6p a share.

Stanley, America's largest maker of hand tools, said it wanted to use Blick as a starting point for growing its business outside the US. The Connecticut-based company, which has struggled to remain profitable in the face of American retailers importing tools from countries where manufacturing costs are much lower, has closed plants and made 1,000 employees redundant.

John Trani, Stanley's chief executive, said: "As our company shifts its business portfolio, Blick will serve as the centre from which our European security solutions presence expands." Stanley, whose tools and knives are household names in the US, recently bought a security business, Best Access, and has pinpointed the sector as a fast-growing and profitable one.

Blick would fit into that part of the portfolio, as its main lines of business include security systems such as cards to allow employees into the buildings they work in.

Stanley, which is being advised by UBS, said its offer represented a premium of 37 per cent over its average price of 219p a share in the past six months. Yesterday Blick's shares closed up 12p to 303.5p. The offer has been accepted by Alan Elliot, former chairman of Blick, who controls 10.5 per cent of the shares.

Vanda Murray, chief executive of Blick, said: "Stanley have said they want to build the business, which is why the board has recommended the offer." Blick is being advised by JP Morgan and Panmure, owned by WestLB.

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