Swedish industrial-technology company Hexagon explores sale

Hexagon AB is in early-stage talks to sell itself  to a rival in a deal that could value the Swedish industrial-technology company at about $20 billion, The Wall Street Journal yesterday reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The talks between Hexagon and potential buyers are at an early stage and the company may  ultimately decide not to pursue a sale, the report said.

Reacting to the report, Hexagon said in a statement that it ''evaluates various opportunities to optimise the company's positioning and shareholder value. Should these evaluations lead to concrete results, the market will be immediately informed.''

The Financial Times reported that the Stockholm-based company has hired Goldman Sachs and HSBC to gauge interest from larger industrial rivals such as ABB, Schneider Electric, Siemens and General Electric.

The potential talks on selling itself could be Hexagon's recent scandal over its chief executive Ola Rollen being charged by the Norwegian authorities over insider trading, while its largest shareholder Melker Schorling was forced to step down as chairman for health reasons.

Hexagon focuses on precision measuring technologies and operates in the following divisions – Agriculture, Geospatial, Geosystems, Manufacturing Intelligence, Mining, Positioning Intelligence, PPM and Safety & Infrastructure.

The company markets its products and services under more than 35 different brands worldwide.

Hexagon's operations encompass hand tools, fixed and portable coordinate measuring machines, GPS systems, construction machine control systems, level meters, laser meters, total stations, sensors for airborne measurement, aftermarket services and software systems.

The group employs around 18,000 people in 50 countries, posted sales of €3.15 billion last year and has a market cap of around 130 billion Swedish kronor ($15 billion).

The company has grown through aggressive acquisitions having acquired around 100 companies since 2000.