Master Lock Owner to Buy ASSA ABLOY Units

Dec. 3, 2022
The deal is meant to gain federal approval of the purchase of Kwikset and Baldwin.

The owner of prominent security brands Master Lock and SentrySafe has agreed to buy four ASSA ABLOY companies.

The move is the latest twist in the ongoing attempt by ASSA ABLOY to acquire the Hardware and Home Improvement (HHI) division of Spectrum Brands. That $4.3 billion acquisition, which would include security brands Kwikset and Baldwin, has been blocked by the Department of Justice on antitrust concerns.

Fortune Brands, which owns Master Lock and SentrySafe, has agreed to buy ASSA ABLOY’s Smart Residential business unit companies, Yale Home and August Home, as well as high-end residential hardware businesses Emtek and Schaub for $800 million in cash and debt. The deal is contingent upon the HHI acquisition going through, according to a press release by ASSA ABLOY.

“While keeping these residential businesses in the U.S. and Canada would have been preferred, we are confident that we have now fully eliminated all competitive concerns alleged by the DOJ,” Nico Delvaux, president and CEO of ASSA ABLOY, said in the release. “With Fortune Brands, our excellent U.S. and Canadian residential businesses will get a good and strong home with an experienced owner.”

In a separate press release, Fortune Brands Chief Executive Officer Nicholas Fink said, “This acquisition is perfectly aligned to our strategy as a brand, innovation and channel leader. Yale and August will bring two great brands and significant engineering expertise into our already-powerful security portfolio. Emtek and Schaub allow us to enter a branded, growing and highly profitable category in a leadership position,”

In October 2022, ASSA ABLOY announced it would sell Emtek, August Home and Yale Home in hopes of receiving approval for its proposed acquisition of HHI. That deal, announced in September 2021, was put on hold after DOJ sued to prevent the acquisition.

DOJ hasn’t commented about the Fortune Brands deal or whether such a sale would satisfy its concerns.

ASSA ABLOY says it remains “fully committed” to the sold businesses and that the businesses would continue to operate as normal.

The proposed acquisition of HHI and the sale to Fortune Brands are expected to close during the second quarter of 2023 after a successful defense against the DOJ, ASSA ABLOY says.