UPDATE 3-KKR to buy machinery maker Gardner Denver for $3.74 bln

Fri Mar 8, 2013 2:14pm EST
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* KKR offers $76 per share for Garden Denver

* Offer a 3 pct premium to Garden Denver's Thursday close

* Shares rise to $74.83 in early trade

By A. Ananthalakshmi

March 8 (Reuters) - Industrial machinery maker Gardner Denver Inc agreed to sell itself to private equity firm KKR & Co LP for $3.74 billion after the buyout firm raised its offer.

The deal follows several months of a hot and cold auction process that initially drew interest from diversified manufacturer SPX Corp and other private equity firms but left KKR as the only bidder at the end.

KKR will pay $76 for each Gardner Denver share, sweetening its so-called final offer of $75 per share and representing a 39 percent premium to the company's stock price on Oct. 24, the day before Reuters broke the news of a potential sale.

Shares of Gardner Denver rose 1 percent to $74.70 on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday, suggesting investors do not expect a higher bid.

Including debt, the deal is valued at $3.9 billion, the companies said in a statement on Friday.   Continued...