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Whirlpool offers $170m more in pursuit of Maytag

DES MOINES -- Whirlpool Corp. moved more aggressively yesterday to clinch the deal to buy rival Maytag Corp. by raising its offer for a third time to $1.79 billion, or $21 a share.

Including the assumption of $977 million of debt, the entire deal was valued at $2.7 billion.

The latest offer, a premium of $1 per share premium, or $170 million, over the sweetened bid of $1.62 billion that Whirlpool offered Monday, still consists of 50 percent cash and 50 percent Whirlpool stock. The deal also included a $120 million ''reverse breakup" fee, which would be paid to Maytag if regulators do not approve the combination.

The latest offer, which expires Aug. 21, represents a 50 percent premium to the initial bid of $14 per share, or about $1.13 billion, that Maytag received from investment group Triton Acquisition Holding Co.

Maytag's board accepted the all-cash offer on May 19, and shareholders are scheduled to vote on it Aug. 19.

Maytag spokesman John Daggett confirmed that the Newton, Iowa-based company had received the proposal but declined to comment further.

Whirlpool is the biggest appliance maker in the United States. Maytag is third.

A Triton spokesman declined to comment.

The Maytag board could decide to let shareholders vote on the Triton offer next week and proceed with the Whirlpool deal if shareholders vote Triton down.

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