NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Jarden Corp. (JAH) Chairman and founder Martin E. Franklin says the consumer products maker was interested in acquiring Yankee Candle for many years before finally announcing a deal to buy the private equity-owned company for $1.75 billion on Tuesday.
Franklin said in a late Tuesday interview with TheStreet that he first began working on a deal for Yankee Candle after being pitched personally as a possible investor by the company's private equity owner Madison Dearborn Partners and its banker Barclays (BCS). Franklin was interested, but he saw a better fit for Yankee Candle within Jarden's growing portfolio of consumer products that includes everything from high end outerwear, chocolates, fishing rods and coffee's and camping equipment.
"What they didn't know was that we had been looking at the company for years," Franklin said of his first discussions about a possible investment in Yankee Candle.
Jarden had been watching Yankee Candle with interest from a distance for many years, according to Franklin. When Madison Dearborn and Barclays were unable to garner a reported $2 billion price for Yankee Candle in a set of auctions, Franklin approached Robin P. Selati, a Madison Dearborn managing director, about a the possibility of a strategic transaction.The deal that came together is poised to be Jarden's biggest-ever acquisition and it may be a strong indicator of the kind of M&A activity that could happen among private equity firms and Fortune 500 companies in coming years. That is especially the case as PE shops come up against a turn in interest rates and try to exit or monetize their pre-crisis buyout investments. Competitor private equity firms to Madison Dearborn saw a limited appeal of Yankee Candle at a price tag of about $2 billion, or about 10 times the firm's trailing twelve month earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA). Jarden, with its near $8 billion projected pro forma annual revenue and strong international marketing and selling channels, however, saw significant value in a slightly lower-priced deal. "We can bring a lot to the table, merely by
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