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The Deal: Emerson Sheds Control of Embedded Computing Unit

Tickers in this article: EMR

NEW YORK (The Deal) -- Emerson Electric said Tuesday it would sell a majority stake in its embedded computing and power business for $300 million, shedding control of a unit that has put a damper on earnings in recent quarters.

St. Louis-based Emerson said it would sell a 51% stake in the business to Platinum Equity, retaining a 49% noncontrolling interest. The Carlsbad, Calif.-based unit to be sold makes technologies used in communications and computing equipment, generating sales of about $1.4 billion in 2012.

Emerson said in November it was seeking options for the embedded business, part of a broader restructuring aimed at refocusing the electrical products conglomerate. The company in 2012 laid out an ambitious five-year plan to reshape itself, saying that during that time it hoped to acquire upward of $7 billion in revenue while divesting $2 billion to $3 billion in sales.

Company chairman and CEO David N. Farr said Tuesday in a statement that the sale "will allow us to immediately focus on our core business" while also benefitting from any growth at the soon-to-be independent entity.

"The embedded computing and power business is a technology leader in the industry it serves, but no longer fits strategically in our portfolio," Farr said. Emerson earlier this year also made a run at buying Invensys, which agreed to sell to France's Schneider Electric for £3.53 billion ($5.37 billion).

The embedded sale comes on the same day that Emerson reported quarterly net income of $194 million, down from $770 million in the same period last year, hurt by a $503 million pretax goodwill impairment charge related to the embedded business. The company said that weakness in the technology equipment and mobile device markets was hurting sales and earnings growth in the business. Without the charges, Emerson reported earnings per share of 97 cents, just shy of the 98 cents per share analyst consensus.

A JPMorgan Chase team including Chris Gallea, Chris Ventresca, Dan Schafer and Dan Grabos advised Emerson.

Written by Lou Whiteman.