Milwaukee (AP) – Briggs & Stratton Corp. said Wednesday it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Simplicity Manufacturing Inc. of Port Washington for $227.5 million in cash, subject to adjustments.
Briggs & Stratton is the world’s largest producer of air-cooled gasoline engines for outdoor power equipment.
Simplicity is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of a broad range of outdoor power equipment used in both consumer and commercial lawn and garden applications. Its products are widely distributed through independent dealers under the brand names Simplicity, Snapper, Ferris and Giant-Vac.
The transaction is expected to close at the beginning of Briggs’ fiscal 2005 first quarter, at which time Simplicity Manufacturing will become part of the Briggs & Stratton Power Products Group — which joined the parent firm in the agreement.
“The acquisition is another step in Briggs & Stratton’s strategy to present an ever more compelling value proposition to consumers of our products and superior returns to our shareholders,” said John S. Shiely, Briggs’ chief executive officer.
James A. Wier, Simplicity’s chief executive officer, said his firm was pleased by the transaction.
“We believe Briggs & Stratton has the financial resources and support to allow us to continue our current growth strategy,” he said. “The management team and our production facilities will remain in place and continue to focus on delivering high value products sold through the independent dealer channel.”
Simplicity employs about 1,200 people and has manufacturing facilities in Port Washington, McDonough, Ga., and Munnsville, N.Y.
James E. Brenn, Briggs’ senior vice president and chief financial officer, said the acquisition is not expected to have any impact on employment at either firm.