September 3, 2019 / 3:06 PM / 15 days ago

Franklin's J2 blank check company buys APi Group for $2.9 billion

BOSTON (Reuters) - J2 Acquisition Ltd on Tuesday said that it spent $2.9 billion to buy APi Group, the parent of 40 life safety, energy, specialty construction and infrastructure companies.

This is the first takeover for the blank-check acquisition vehicle created by Martin Franklin, who co-founded a number of conglomerates including household goods company Jarden.

J2 said it plans to change its name to APi Group Corporation and list its stock on the New York Stock Exchange.

The J2 team, which includes Franklin and Jarden co-founders James Lillie and Ian Ashken, said it sees APi as the industrial version of Jarden. Franklin and Lillie will be co-chairmen of the new company’s board of directors and Ashken will join the board as a director. APi’s CEO Russell Becker will continue to lead the company and be a director on the board.

Jarden, which owned businesses spanning from Yankee Candle to Crock-Pot cookware, was sold to Newell Rubbermaid for $16 billion in 2016.

A year later, Franklin created J2, named in a nod to Jarden, and raised $1.25 billion in its initial public offering in London.

Franklin, often described as a serial dealmaker, has been involved in other ventures, most prominently chemical company Platform Specialty Products and frozen foods group Nomad Foods. Both companies were, for a time, part of activist investor William Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management portfolio.

Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Andrea Ricci

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