The Middleby Corporation to acquire Welbilt, Inc.

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The agreement, worth approx. $2.9bn, sees Middleby make an all-stock transaction of Welbilt. The company will have $3.7bn in combined 2020 sales

Major foodservice equipment manufacturing groups The Middleby Corporation and Welbilt, Inc. have announced they have entered into a definitive agreement that will see Middleby acquire Welbilt in an all-stock transaction – worth approximately $2.9bn, according to Reuters. The acquisition will, say Middleby, enhance its Commercial Foodservice platform “with an attractive portfolio of products, brands and technologies.”

This move will bring together “two complementary businesses, accelerate the Middleby growth strategy into key markets globally and increase core capabilities in highly attractive segments,” said Middleby in a company statement on Wednesday 21 April 2021.

The combined company will have approximately $3.7bn in combined 2020 sales, according to the announcement, 73% of which will come from the Commercial Foodservice segment. Middleby has now completed more than 20 acquisitions since 2018 and this latest move will, it says, create “a clear path to driving $120 million in operational improvement.”

A milestone event

“Today’s announcement represents a milestone event for Middleby, Welbilt and the commercial foodservice equipment industry,” said Middleby CEO Timothy FitzGerald.

“The combination of our two great companies creates a leading player with a comprehensive product line, global footprint and advanced technologies and solutions that are well positioned to serve our rapidly changing customer needs and capitalize on emerging industry trends. The acquisition of Welbilt is a transformational opportunity for Middleby and a compelling combination that will benefit all of our stakeholders. We are excited to welcome the Welbilt team and we will benefit from the highly talented group they have assembled.”

This was echoed by William Johnson, CEO of Welbilt. “We are pleased to combine with Middleby to offer our customers a broad and innovative portfolio of products and technologies,” he said. “This transaction will allow Welbilt to accelerate our strategic development and represents an outstanding opportunity for Welbilt shareholders to realize an attractive value and participate in the future value creation of the combined organization. I am pleased to be joining the Middleby Board of Directors upon closing of the transaction to support a successful combination of the businesses.”

The acquisition will see a combination of distinct but complementary portfolios with leading brands in virtually every kitchen segment and an ever-broader geographic footprint, as well as accelerating R&D and investment into “the value-added technologies and services of the future, including ventless cooking, controls, automation and connectivity,” according the company statement.

FitzGerald will continue as CEO and as a member of the Middleby board of directors, while Bryan Mittelman will continue to serve as Middleby’s CFO. Middleby will expand its board to include two new directors from the Welbilt board: chairperson Cynthia Egnotovich and current CEO, William Johnson.

Michael Jones