Whirlpool Corp. washing and drying machines are displayed for sale at a Howard's Appliances Inc. store in Torrance, California.
Whirlpool Corp. washing and drying machines are displayed for sale at a Howard’s Appliances Inc. store in Torrance, California. (Patrick Fallon/Getty)

Whirlpool Corp., the world’s leading manufacturer of home appliances, has agreed to acquire a controlling stake in its smaller European counterpart, Indesit Co., for about $1 billion.

The deal, announced late last week, would give Whirlpool a 60.4 percent stake in the Italian appliance maker—whose brands include Hotpoint and Scholtes brands—while also allowing it to expand its reach in the European market.

Whirlpool will purchase the controlling stake of Indesit from Fineldo S.p.A. as well as members of company founder the Merloni family. The deal calls for Whirlpool to pay 11 euros ($15.06) for each Indesit share, for a total purchase price of 758 million euros ($1.038 billion). That reflects a 4.5 percent premium over Indesit’s closing price on Thursday. Whirlpool will launch a mandatory tender offer on all remaining Indesit shares following the acquisition.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton is representing Whirlpool on the transaction, while Paul Hastings is advising Indesit. Italian firm Gianni, Origoni, Grippo, Cappelli & Partners is counseling Fineldo.

The deal is subject to court and antitrust approvals and is expected to close by the end of 2014.

The acquisition would make Whirlpool the biggest player in Eastern Europe’s market for major appliances, where Indesit has a 13 percent market share in contrast to Whirlpool’s 5 percent, according to Euromonitor International as cited by The Wall Street Journal.

“This will ideally position us for sustainable growth in the highly competitive and increasingly global home appliance market in Europe,” Jeff Fettig, Whirlpool’s CEO, said in a statement.

Advising Whirlpool on the deal from Cleary are corporate partners Roberto Casati and Roberto Bonsignore in Milan; Christopher Austin, Jeffrey Karpf and Pamela Marcogliese in New York; and Raj Panasar in London. Senior attorney Gerolamo da Passano also advised.

Representing Whirlpool on antitrust matters are Cleary partners Mario Siragusa, Matteo Beretta and Brian Byrne, as well as senior attorney Saverio Valentino. Associates on the deal were Andrea Cazzani, Francesco De Lorenzi, Luigi Nascimbene, Elizabeth Pennell and Lauren Snyder.

Whirlpool had previously turned to Cleary on its $552 million acquisition of a 51 percent stake in Hefei Rongshida Sanyo Electric Co. last year.

Indesit tapped Paul Hastings for counsel on the stake sale to Whirlpool, with partners Bruno Cova advising on M&A matters and Antonio Azzarà on Italian corporate law.