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Deere to acquire retailer Lesco

February 20, 2007|From Bloomberg News

Deere & Co., which makes lawn, garden and farm equipment, agreed Monday to acquire Lesco Inc., a retailer of professional lawn-maintenance products, for about $132.7 million.

The offer of $14.50 a share is 39% above Lesco's closing share price of $10.43 on Friday. Cleveland-based Lesco had 9.15 million shares outstanding as of Nov. 6, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The acquisition of Lesco, which has 332 stores in the United States mostly along the East Coast, will about double the number of sites operated by Deere's landscaping unit, Deere said.

Lesco had sales of $576 million in 2005 and no debt outstanding at the end of September.

"We have a strong commitment to serve professional landscaping and golf course customers," said Nate Jones, president of Deere's commercial and consumer division, in a statement.

The transaction is expected to close before the end of June.

In June, Deere bought closely held Roberts Irrigation Products Inc., a water-systems business, for an undisclosed price.

Shares of Moline, Ill.-based Deere rose 41 cents to $113.93 on Friday. The stock is up 50% in the last year.

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