Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A) has acquired the beverage dispensing and merchandising businesses of IMI for $1.1 billion. The U.K.-based engineering firm says it will use the funds to bolster its pension fund and to return £620m to shareholders.
The IMI divisions sold, which sell drink cooling equipment and retailing display systems to restaurants and stores, will become part of Marmon, a company owned by Berkshire Hathaway with existing operations in the food service and retail industries.
The deal is expected to be the final major act of IMI’s long-time chief executive Martin Lamb before he steps down at the end of the year. Lamb said:
I particularly wish to thank all our employees in the Retail Dispense business for their efforts and commitment over many years in which they have made a first class contribution to IMI. I believe that Marmon, with its scale and focus on the retail space, will be an excellent long term owner of the business.
The deal is the latest in a series of bolt-on acquisitions made by the Berkshire Hathaway investment group in the United States and Europe. Buffett has encouraged the chief executives of his operating companies to seek out smaller, less-risky deals rather than large purchases.
Shares in London-traded IMI rose to all-time high Wednesday. Shares of Berkshire Hathaway were inactive in premarket trading in the United States.
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