UPDATE 3-Danaher, Cooper to sell tools venture to Bain for $1.6 bln

(Adds financial advisers)

Oct 10 (Reuters) - Danaher Corp and CooperIndustries will sell their hand and power tools jointventure, Apex Tool Group, to Bain Capital for about $1.6billion, joining a growing group of U.S. conglomerates that isdivesting its non-core assets.

The deal underscores the robust appetite of private equityfirms, backed by cheap financing, for assets sold by companiesor other buyout firms.

Danaher said it would receive about $650 million in netproceeds from the sale, which is expected to be completed in thefirst half of 2013. A statement from Cooper did not mentionproceeds.

Danaher and Cooper each own 50 percent of Apex, which makesCrescent wrenches, Lufkin measuring tapes and hand tools forSears Holdings Corp's Craftsman brand.

Reuters reported in September that Bain, the private equityfirm co-founded by U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney, wasclose to buying Apex, prevailing over other buyout firms likePlatinum Equity LLC and American Securities LLC in an auction.

Apex's rival, Stanley Black & Decker Inc , saidTuesday it would sell its door-lock and bath-fixture business toSpectrum Brands Holdings Inc for $1.4 billion toconcentrate on its higher-margin businesses, including hand andpower tools.

Danaher, which makes medical as well as industrial products,said last month it would buy Iris International Inc forabout $355 million to expand its medical diagnostics business.

Barclays is lead adviser to Bain in thetransaction, and provided committed financing along with GoldmanSachs Group , Morgan Stanley , RBC Capital Markets,Citigroup and Deutsche Bank Securities .

Goldman Sachs was Apex's exclusive financial adviser.

Apex was formed in July 2010 by a combination of the toolbusinesses of Danaher and Cooper, which is in the process ofbeing acquired by Eaton Corp for $11.8 billion. Eaton isprimarily interested in Cooper's line of electrical products,such as lighting and wiring devices.

Based in Sparks, Maryland, Apex has annual revenue of about$1.5 billion and employs about 8,000 people in 30 countries,according to its website.

(Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Bangalore and Soyoung Kim inNew York; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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