Waterjet Holdings Inc. completed its estimated $200-million takeover of Flow International Corporation, a designer and manufacturer of industrial waterjet cutting and cleaning equipment. The takeover, announced last fall, was challenged by at least two investor-advocate firms, one of which alleged Flow’s directors abused their fiduciary duties to shareholders in their conduct related to the sale. Nevertheless, Flow shareholders approved the sale at a special meeting in December 20, 2013, and all necessary regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions have been met.
Waterjet Holdings acquired all of the outstanding shares of Flow common stock for $4.05 per share in cash. Waterjet Holdings is affiliated with private investment fund, American Industrial Partners, and stock in Flow International was expected to cease trading after the close of the sale.
"AIP is very excited to partner with Flow's management team and (to) help continue to grow the company," stated Eric Baroyan of American Industrial Partners.
Flow's machines and products are used for cutting, coating removal, and surface preparation, from “ultrahigh-pressure” water pumps that generate 40,000 to +94,000 lb./sq.in. of pressure. The company is credited with various product innovations in the waterjet cutting sector, including introducing of abrasive waterjet cutting and cutting composite material.
The buyer called waterjet technology “a fast-growing alternative to traditional cutting methods (such as laser, plasma, or EDM),” and pointed to markets like aerospace, automotive, food processing, electronics, and residential construction where it sees opportunities.
The Kent, Wash.-based company has approximately 700 employees and manufacturing sites in Kent and Jeffersonville, Ind. It has sales offices in Europe, Asia, and South America.
According to David Savage, CEO of Waterjet Holdings Inc., the new owners "intend to further invest in our business, and build on our long-standing customer relationships and market-leading products to further grow the share of waterjet cutting within the broader machine tool cutting industry."