Capital Calls: The Culligan water deal machine changes hands

Concise insights on global finance.


DILUTIVE ACCRETION. Culligan International is part of the deal flow, again. Private equity firm BDT Capital Partners is taking a stake in the water-treatment firm, valuing it at $6 billion including debt, according to the Wall Street Journal. That is more than six times what its current majority owner, leveraged buyout shop Advent International, paid in 2016. Culligan has done some 90 deals in the five years since then.

Roll-ups can become unstuck when a company runs out of targets or enthusiasm for its product slows down. But water management has only gained in importance and value as climate change has put fresh drinking water at risk in many parts of the world . Similar Japanese company Organo’s (6368.T) shares have more than tripled in five years, versus an 87% return for the Nikkei 225 Index and a 121% return for the S&P 500 Index.

Culligan is something of a mulligan stew of water assets. But the commodity’s scarcity and the company’s experience absorbing other businesses could keep the next owners nicely hydrated. (By Lauren Silva Laughlin)

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