Zodiac S.A. and The Carlyle Group, a private equity firm, have signed an agreement to acquire Water Pik Technologies Inc., parent company of Jandy. The sale, which is expected to close at the end of April, is valued at $380 million.
Water Pik will be purchased by Coast Acquisition Corp., a newly formed entity owned 80 percent by Carlyle and 20 percent by Zodiac. Shareholders will receive $27.75 in cash per share, a 31.2 percent premium over the stock’s average closing price during the 30 trading days prior to Jan. 6. Upon completion of the transaction, Water Pik will be de-listed from the New York Stock Exchange and will operate as a private company.
“I believe that this announcement is the best possible scenario for Jandy’s pool products business, our customers, our employees and the pool industry,” said Bob Rasp, vice president and general manager of pool products for Water Pik. “We’re very pleased with the outcome and we’re pleased with the future prospects.”
The transaction brings to an end the search for “strategic alternatives” announced by Newport Beach, Calif.-based Water Pik in January 2005. Last summer, the company’s heating division was sold as part of that search. Both the pool products and consumer health care divisions will be included in the current sale.
Though Zodiac was speculated to be one of the frontrunners bidding for Water Pik, the companies do have a few competing categories, including heat pumps, chlorine generators and pool cleaners. Pompano Beach, Fla.-based Zodiac Pool Care Inc. announced in a press release that this investment “will not alter their competitive relationship, and they will continue as separate and independent companies.”
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to invest in such a world-class company, an innovative, top-notch player in the American swimming pool equipment industry, with superior service to its customers,” said Jean-Marc Daillance, CEO of Zodiac’s marine segment, which oversees its pool business.
At this time, no changes have been made at Water Pik. Any such announcements likely will be revealed in the second quarter of 2006. For the time being, Rasp said the company is continuing “business as usual.”
“We’ve built a very successful pool company, and we’re going to continue our success, just as we have in the past,” Rasp said. “The combined resources of The Carlyle Group, Zodiac and Jandy will enhance our… customer service and provide the most technologically advanced products for our customers.”
Water Pik’s board of directors unanimously approved the transaction, which is still subject to shareholder and regulatory approval, the companies said. The market, for one, seemed pleased with the pending sale. Shares of Water Pik were up $5.56, or 25.7 percent, to $27.19 the first trading day after the announcement. The stock has a 52-week range of $17.62 to $21.94.
The Carlyle Group is a global private equity firm with $35 billion under management. It invests in industries ranging from venture capital to real estate to defense. Paris-based Zodiac has a market cap of about $3.7 billion and oversees several pool-related brands, including Baracuda, Clearwater and Polaris.