The winner in the Maytag Corp. buyout race is rival appliance manufacturer Whirlpool Corp. Maytag agreed to the takeover in a cash and stock deal valued at $2.7 billion. Under the agreement, Whirlpool assumes $977 million in Maytag debt. Maytag shareholders will receive $10.50 in cash and between 0.1144 and 0.1398 of a share of Whirlpool stock for each of their shares. Whirlpool expects the transaction to close as early as the first quarter of 2006 following approval by Maytag shareholders and regulators. Before proceeding with Whirlpool's offer, Maytag paid a $40 million termination fee to Triton Acquisition Holding, a New York investment group the company already had a merger agreement with. The Maytag takeover began in May when Triton Acquisition, led by Ripplewood Holdings LLC and includes RHJ International, GS Capital Partners, and the J. Rothschild Group of Companies, offered to buy Maytag for $14 a share. A short time later, another appliance producer, China-based Haier Group, along with Bain Capital Partners and Blackstone Management Associates, made an unsolicited offer. Whirlpool submitted its unsolicited offer in July and sweetened it twice. "Overall, this transaction will translate into better products, quality and service, as well as added efficiencies," says Jeff Fettig, Whirlpool chairman, president and CEO. "It will enhance our ability to succeed in the increasingly competitive global home-appliance industry." More information is at whirlpoolcorp.com and maytagcorp.com.