California-based Wickes Companies Inc., which emerged from bankruptcy six months ago, yesterday agreed to buy a unit of Gulf & Western Industries for $1 billion.
The acquisition of G&W's Consumer and Industrial Products Group "will contribute significantly to the regeneration of Wickes," said Sanford C. Sigiloff, the Wickes chairman and chief executive officer who is credited with saving the once-tottering building materials company.
"The business gained in this transaction will help us accomplish several of the goals we have set forth for the new Wickes," he said. The Consumer and Industrial Products Group has four retail areas: apparel and hosiery, bedding and home furnishings, automotive parts distribution and manufacturing.
The G&W group will help Wickes "lessen its dependence on the housing cycle and provide an important area of new growth for the company," Sigiloff said.
Under terms of the agreement, Wickes will pay $1 billion in cash and assume approximately $90 million in long-term debt. In addition, Gulf & Western will receive a five-year option to purchase 10 million shares of common stock in Wickes Cos. Inc. of Santa Monica, at $6 a share.
The sale includes Kayser Roth, an apparel and hosiery company; Simmons, a bedding and home furnishings business; A.P.S., which stands for automotive parts distribution, and G&W Manufacturing, which produces automotive, electronic and construction products.
These companies are expected to have combined sales in the current fiscal year, which ends July 31, of $2.7 billion, and operating income of slightly more than $200 million before expenses, according to Gulf & Western.
The transaction is subject to a definitive agreement and approval of the government and the boards of directors of both companies, the company said.
"This sale substantially completes the company's restructuring program launched in 1983 and reflects our continuing commitment to sharpen the focus of Gulf & Western on the business areas we believe can generate higher returns and accelerate growth," Martin S. Davis, G&W's chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement.
Gulf & Western will use proceeds from the divestiture "to finance new opportunities in those areas the company has targeted for growth -- entertainment and communications, publishing and information resources and financial services." Some of the proceeds will also be used to retire debt and possibly to repurchase its own stock, the company said.