Willis Stein to Take Cool Company Private –

Willis Stein & Partners this month agreed to acquire Aavid Thermal Technologies, a Nasdaq-listed company that manufactures electronics cooling components, for approximately $260 million, or $25.50 per share for each of the 9.6 million shares of common stock outstanding. The acquisition was made through Willis Stein & Partners II, L.P.

Under terms of the agreement, however, Chicago-based Willis Stein could end up paying just $24.50 per share for Aavid should the company fail to complete its $79.5 million agreement to acquire the thermal management operations of Bowthorpe, PLC.

Willis Stein has agreed to proceed with the acquisition of Aavid even if the add-on does not close. However, Managing Director Daniel Blumenthal said he is confident the Bowthorpe acquisition will be completed and his firm will end up owning that division, which is located in the U.K., as well as Concord, N.H.-based Aavid and its three current subsidiaries, Aavid Thermal Products, Fluent and Applied Thermal Technologies.

Blumenthal said his group’s recent acquisition of LISN, an engineering, furnishing and installation services company for the telecommunications industry, and, USApubs.com, the group’s newly-formed magazine subscription company, have led Willis Stein to appreciate the end-user market and influenced the agreement to acquire Aavid.

Aavid has more than 2,200 employees in the U.S., China, Singapore, Taiwan and the U.K. The company, which had approximately $209 million in sales for 1998, manufactures thermal management systems that dissipate potentially dangerous heat from digital and power electronics.

Willis Stein targets U.S.-based public and private companies with transaction values ranging from $50 million to $750 million. It focuses on the telecommunications, manufacturing and technology industries.