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Solenis closes $4.6B deal for Diversey

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Solenis Wilmington Delaware

Solenis has closed a $4.6 billion deal to acquire Diversey, adding commercial cleaning products to its growing portfolio. | PHOTO COURTESY OF SOLENIS

WILMINGTON – In a move that creates a growing corporate giant in Delaware, the water specialty chemical company Solenis has closed a deal to acquire Diversey, a company that produces a wide variety of cleaning products.

The all-cash deal for the publicly traded Diversey was set at $8.40 a share, totaling an acquisition price of $4.6 billion for the Wilmington-headquartered Solenis that is owned by the New York private equity firm Platinum Equity.

The purchase price was a 41% premium over Diversey’s closing price on March 7. Meanwhile, the private equity firm Bain Capital, which owned about 73% of the company’s shares, converted 56% of its shares into equity in Solenis at a price of $7.84, while cashing out the remainder at the same price. Its smaller sale price was negotiated with a special committee of Diversey’s board as a prerequisite of the deal, and it now holds a minority equity position in Solenis.

Solenis headquarters Wilmington Delaware Diversey

Solenis, a water treatment firm headquartered at Avenue North in the Wilmington suburbs, is privately owned. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS

Since being acquired by Platinum in 2021 for $5.25 billion, Solenis has steadily added smaller companies in the United States and around the world to increase its products and production capacity, although it has primarily focused on the water treatment, paper production and pool cleaning markets. This is the largest acquisition deal that Solenis has completed to date, and the largest acquisition deal for a Delaware-based company in several years, surpassing CSC’s $2 billion deal for Intertrust last year.

The company emerged from former Hercules and Ashland water treatment divisions dating back to 1907, launching its current iteration in 2015. Solenis added the former BASF company in a 2019 deal to significantly grow its reach and footprint. Today, it is headquartered at Avenue North in Wilmington’s Fairfax suburb and has announced plans to build a $35 million research and development center in the state.

Meanwhile, Fort Mill, S.C.-based Diversey is a leading producer of hygiene, infection prevention and cleaning solutions with a global distribution market. The more than century-old company has more than 85,000 customers in over 80 countries and 9,000 employees around the world.

Its addition will move Solenis firmly into general consumer markets, as Diversey has partnered with British conglomerate Reckitt Benckiser Group plc to distribute name brands like Lysol home cleaner, Dove soap, Suave bath products, Finish dish detergent, Endust dust cleaner, Air Wick air freshener, and more.

Solenis CEO John Panichella

Solenis CEO John Panichella will lead the combined company following Solenis’ merger with Diversey. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS

Solenis CEO John Panichella now leads the combined company that operates in over 130 countries with 71 manufacturing facilities and more than 15,000 employees.

“This merger makes Solenis a more diversified company with significantly increased scale, broader global reach and the ability to offer a ‘one-stop shop’ suite of solutions that meet customer demand and address water management, cleaning and hygiene issues on a global basis,” he said in a statement. “Together, we have a foundation from which we can continue to leverage our strong customer partnerships, leading-edge innovation and value-added services to propel Solenis’ aggressive growth trajectory. With continued support from Platinum Equity, we are confident that we will maximize the promising opportunities ahead.”

Panichella stated that the addition of the Diversey line of cleaning and hygiene products and technologies helps create cross-selling opportunities that will make Solenis an even more valuable partner for its customers.

“We now have greatly enhanced capabilities to help our customers tackle critical sustainability challenges, reduce their environmental impact and help create a cleaner, safer world,” he said.

Solenis’ private equity owners signaled that a multi-billion-dollar deal would not be the end of their efforts to bulk up its offerings.

“We are excited to create a larger, more expansive platform that will enable Solenis with even more opportunities to grow both organically and through additional acquisitions in core and adjacent markets going forward,” Platinum Equity Managing Director Nathan Eldridge said in a statement.

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