Carlyle Group buys Walbro from Sun Capital

NEW YORK–Carlyle Group
has bought Walbro Engine Management from private-equity firm Sun Capital Partners, as Walbro, a small-engine parts manufacturer, seeks to expand into new markets.

Terms of the transaction, which ends Sun Capital’s ownership of Walbro since 2007, weren’t disclosed. Equity for the investment comes from Carlyle’s second Japanese fund, Carlyle Japan Partners II, the buyout firm said in a release.

Sun Capital, Boca Raton, Fla., didn’t disclose the amount it paid for Walbro.

“Walbro supports world-wide markets with the aim to be the industry leader in the global small-engine market,” said Tony Martin, Walbro’s chief executive. “This transaction is consistent with our aim to satisfy increasing global market demands, and we plan to leverage Carlyle’s global network to pursue further growth.”

Founded in 1950 and based in Tucson, Ariz., Walbro is the world’s largest manufacturer of carburetors and a major manufacturer of fuel- and air-management components used in outdoor power equipment. Carburetors blend air and fuel for an internal combustion engine in devices like lawn mowers and chainsaws.

Walbro has significant sales, research and development, and production capabilities in Japan and the U.S., and also employs 2,200 people in manufacturing facilities in Thailand, China and Mexico.

Carlyle, managing $156 billion in assets, has been the busiest private-equity firm in terms of deal flow this year. Excluding the Walbro deal, the firm has announced transactions worth a total of $15.6 billion globally this year, according to data provider Dealogic–the largest equity investment of which is its $4.9 billion purchase of DuPont Co.’s (DD) performance coatings business last month. It also last month said it is buying photo agency Getty Images Inc. for $3.3 billion.

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“I think we are slightly more optimistic about the economy than our peers,” Bill Conway, Carlyle’s co-founder and co-chief executive, said Friday on the sidelines of the Dow Jones Private Equity Analyst conference.

Carlyle’s activities in the U.S., especially since July, have provided a boost to the amount of private-equity-backed deals. There have been $36.9 billion worth of deals announced in the third quarter so far, Dealogic said, edging close to the $40.1 billion announced in the first half of the year.

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