John Deere buys Lesco

gbig2(6)April 1, 2008

Old news, but new to me. From the guy at my local Lesco:

"John Deere bought Lesco . All the products remain, and we will expand our product line to include lighting, irrigation, out door kitchens, etc.

And of course John Deere Products."



MOLINE, IL (February 19, 2007) Deere & Company (NYSE: DE) and LESCO, Inc. (NASDAQ: LSCO) announced today that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement for Deere to acquire LESCO for $14.50 per common share in cash.

LESCO, a Cleveland, Ohio-based company, is a leading supplier of consumable products, such as fertilizer, seed and chemicals, for lawn maintenance professionals and golf course superintendents. Upon closing, the company will become part of John Deere Landscapes, a leading wholesale distributor of irrigation, nursery, lighting and landscape materials in the United States.

"This plan is consistent with Deere's growth aspirations," said Nate Jones, president, Commercial & Consumer Division. "We seek business opportunities that bring new customers to John Deere and that offer new products and services to our existing customers. We have a strong commitment to serve professional landscaping and golf course customers."

Jeffrey Rutherford, LESCO's president and chief executive officer, said, "We are pleased to announce this transaction, and we believe it enables shareholders to receive the benefit of our efforts to increase shareholder value. In addition, customers of both LESCO and John Deere benefit because of this decision. LESCO, a strong leader in its segment of the market, now joins with John Deere to provide a more complete set of products and services."

The transaction will roughly double the number of store locations for John Deere Landscapes with the addition of LESCO's 332 stores, strengthening its presence across the U.S. and especially in the eastern seaboard states.

"Commercial landscape and lawn care professionals seek business partners who assist them in growing their businesses," said Dave Werning, president of John Deere Landscapes. "The addition of LESCO to our company will enable John Deere Landscapes to continue helping customers be more profitable and productive."

The combination of LESCO and John Deere Landscapes will significantly increase the volume of consumable products sold by John Deere Landscapes; will expand the customer base for both LESCO and John Deere Landscapes products and services; and will complement John Deere's work in the Golf & Turf One Source business, which focuses on bringing total solutions to those who maintain golf course properties.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval of LESCO's shareholders and regulatory approval, and is expected to close during the second calendar quarter of 2007. LESCO's board of directors has unanimously approved the merger agreement and recommends that LESCO's shareholders adopt the merger agreement.

Merrill Lynch & Co. acted as financial advisors to Deere & Company in connection with this transaction. William Blair & Company and Western Reserve Partners LLC served LESCO as financial advisors.

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I know a lot of guys who'll be interested to see if this has any impact on their level of service or pricing. I don't deal with Lesco but seems like the grumbling from lots of guys who do has increased over the last couple of years. One guy I know cancelled his account with them after seeing the same product at HD cheaper than his "rock-bottom-deep-cut-professional-discount"

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 2:06PM
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Good news! Maybe Lesco won't seriously rot any longer.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 7:06PM
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HD-sold lesco products may be cheaper, but when it comes to harder-to-find specialty items, Lesco offers outstanding value. Any homeowner can sign up as a customer to get the discounted price.

As an example, I just got some Dimension 0.10% 0-0-7 50lb bag for $16 (even cheaper than last year). Previously at Lowes, I got (Preen Crabgrass Preventer for Lawns) Dimension 0.13% 0-0-7 17lb for $15. Even accounting for the lower concentration, the Lesco product saves you over 50%!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 3:05PM
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I didn't realize the news clipping is a year old! My local Lesco outlet only recently changed signs to "John Deere Landscaping".

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 5:30PM
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Like I said I don't deal with Lesco in my area but when you hear guys that are buying several pallets of product from them a season complain that the per unit price at HD is lower, same ai and all, then thats a company with some issues. Hope JD can turn them around. Lots of people don't have other options.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 5:36PM
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Home Depot in my area sells maybe 3 or 4 Lesco fertilizers. That is a small number compared to the specialty formulations and products that professionals demand. Of course if those 3 or 4 products are all you need, then of course you should get those whereever you find them cheapest. My hope is that JD doesn't wreck a good thing.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 7:38PM
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