WSJ: Gardner Denver sale completed

The Wall Street Journal is reporting Friday that Gardner Denver completed its sale to a New York-based private equity firm.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P., also known as KKR & Co. agreed to purchase the industrial machinery manufacturer for $76 a share, the report says.

An announcement of the $3.74 billion deal is expected to be made later Friday.

"Our success and this positive development is a testament to our dedicated employees who will continue to build on the momentum that our team has worked so hard to create," Michael M. Larsen, Gardner Denver's President and Chief Executive Officer said in a press release on the KKR & Co. website. "As we position Gardner Denver to enter its next phase of growth and success, we look forward to working closely with KKR to seamlessly close this transaction."

Great River Economic Development Foundation Interim President Phil Conover said there have been no discussions with Gardner Denver or KKR officials about the future of the company.

â??They're a worldwide private equity firm,â?? he said. â??Their whole purpose is to increase shareholder value and to make it more efficient. Nobody is making any comments about what they plan to do.â??

Conover said he's unsure whether the increased efficiency would come with a reduction in workforce.

â??(KKR has) done that in the past certainly, in the 1980s and 1990s,â?? he said. â??But what makes me optimistic is the quality of our labor force in our local plant. There are other ways you can increase efficiency without cutting the workforce.â??