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Columbia Business Monthly

Liberty, S.C.-based Cornell Dubilier Being Acquired for $263 Million

Sep 26, 2023 11:04AM ● By David Dykes

Itasca, Ill.-based Knowles Corporation (NYSE: KN), a leading global supplier of high performance components and solutions, including ceramic capacitors and radio frequency (“RF”) filters, advanced medtech microphones and balanced armature speakers and audio solutions, said it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Liberty, S.C.-based Cornell Dubilier for total cash consideration of $263 million.

Cornell Dubilier is a technology leader and manufacturer of high-quality film, electrolytic and mica capacitors used in medtech, military, aerospace, and industrial electrification applications with an annualized revenue of more than $135 million and over 35,000 customers.

Officials said the total cost of the acquisition consists of a $140 million cash payment at closing and an interest-free seller note of $123 million, with $50 million maturing one year from closing and the remaining $73 million maturing two years from closing.

The total fair value of the consideration transferred is estimated at $250 million and represents 9.6x Cornell Dubilier’s trailing-twelve-month adjusted EBITDA inclusive of run-rate cost synergies, the officials said. 

Knowles expects to finance the acquisition with a combination of cash on hand, borrowings from its existing revolving credit facility, and the seller note.

The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of calendar year 2023, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

“Adding Cornell Dubilier’s impressive, broad-based roster of OEM and distribution partner customers, as well as its leading capabilities in capacitor technology will expand the applications for Knowles’ products,” said Knowles Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Niew. 

Niew added, “We will be well positioned to grow with new and existing customers as we work to generate stronger earnings and cash flow and create shareholder value. We admire the outstanding company and culture built by the Kaplan family over the past 40 years and we look forward to welcoming Cornell Dubilier’s talented employees to Knowles.”

Officials said the acquisition:

  • Increases exposure to high-growth end markets: The transaction significantly expands Knowles’ serviceable available market through Cornell Dubilier’s capacitor offerings. In addition, Cornell Dubilier’s end markets are aligned to key growth tailwinds, including increasing defense budgets, medical imaging and critical care application growth as well as industrial electrification and implementation of next generation fast charging architectures.
  • Diversifies and expands product portfolio: The combination of Cornell Dubilier’s broad selection of power film, electrolytic and mica capacitors with Knowles’ Precision Devices segment will deliver a compelling value proposition and wider portfolio of products and solutions to both existing and new customers.
  • Drives non-GAAP EPS accretion and preserves financial flexibility: Pro forma, the acquisition is expected to be accretive to Knowles’ non-GAAP EPS in 2024. Following the closing of the acquisition, Knowles expects to have a leverage ratio of 1.4x pro forma EBITDA and maintain its capital deployment strategy focused on balancing R&D and capex investment with accretive M&A while continuing to return cash to shareholders through share repurchases.