By JACK KASKEY
Ashland agreed to sell its water technologies unit to
private-equity firm Clayton Dubilier & Rice in a deal
valued at about $1.8 billion.
The acquisition should close by Sept. 30, Covington,
Kentucky-based Ashland said Tuesday. Net proceeds of about
$1.4 billion from the asset sale mostly will be used for
share repurchases, Ashland said. It authorized $1.35 billion
of stock buybacks, replacing a program with $450 million
Ashland said in November it would exit the water-chemicals
business as part of an overhaul that includes selling its
elastomers unit, which supplies synthetic rubber to tire
Ashland is focusing on expanding in additives used in
cosmetics and pharmaceuticals after its $3.2 billion purchase
of International Specialty Products in 2011.
Clayton Dubilier was one of three bidders for the Ashland
unit as of a Feb. 10 deadline, people familiar with the
matter said last week. Blackstone Group and Rhone Group also
made offers, the people said.