Shares of Whirlpool Corp saw a significant surge, climbing as much as 19%, following a Reuters report that German engineering giant Robert Bosch GmbH is contemplating an offer for the US appliance manufacturer.
According to three individuals familiar with the matter, Bosch, the world’s leading auto parts maker, has been in discussions with potential advisers regarding a possible bid for Whirlpool, which is valued at approximately $4.8 billion.However, these sources cautioned that it is not certain an offer will be made, a Reuters report said.
Both Bosch and Whirlpool refrained from commenting on what they termed as “market rumors.” Despite this, Whirlpool’s shares reacted positively, marking the largest intraday gain since March 2020, elevating its market value to about $5.4 billion.
Acquiring Whirlpool would significantly strengthen Bosch’s home appliance sector amidst intensifying competition from Asian companies. Bosch CEO Stefan Hartung mentioned in May that the company was eyeing larger acquisition targets and did not exclude the possibility of a global deal.
Whirlpool, renowned for its major household appliances such as washing machines and refrigerators under brands like Maytag and KitchenAid, has been facing challenges. The company has been undergoing a significant restructuring, including integrating its European operations with Turkish firm Arcelik and divesting its Middle Eastern and African businesses. Recently, Whirlpool announced a plan to cut about 1,000 jobs to improve profit margins.
Bosch’s potential acquisition of Whirlpool comes as the German company seeks to diversify beyond its primary automotive business. With the slowing sales of electric vehicles affecting major clients like Volkswagen AG and BMW AG, Bosch is keen on expanding its footprint in the U.S. market. Hartung stated that acquisitions in the U.S. are seen as a strategic move for growth.
Earlier this year, Bosch was reported to be among the contenders for Johnson Controls International’s heating and ventilation assets worth over $6 billion. Hartung also hinted at the possibility of listing some Bosch divisions on the stock market to finance future deals.
As Bosch explores these opportunities, the potential takeover of Whirlpool could rank among its most significant disclosed transactions, highlighting its strategic shift and ambition to become a major player in the home appliance industry.
(With inputs from agencies)