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CVC to Acquire Samsonite for $1.7 Billion

Luggage maker Samsonite said Thursday it agreed to be bought by private equity firm CVC Capital Partners in an all-cash deal of about $1.7 billion, including assumption of debt.

The deal, which was approved by Samsonite's board, values Samsonite at $1.49 a share, the company said in a statement.

Samsonite manufactures and distributes luggage and travel-related products under its namesake brand and others such as American Tourister, Lacoste and Timberland. Its principal shareholders -- entities controlled by Ares Management, Bain Capital Partners and Teachers' Private Capital, which is a private investment branch of Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan -- have agreed to the transaction, Samsonite said.

Those shareholders own about 85 percent of Samsonite's common stock.

The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2007, and is subject to regulatory checks in the United States and Europe, Samsonite said.

Samsonite rallied following word of the buyout.

CVC Capital Partners Managing Partner Hardy McLain and Partner Luigi Lanari said the company will look in particular to India and China, which present growth opportunities.

Merrill Lynch was Samsonite's financial adviser, and UBS and Lehman Brothers advised CVC Capital Partners.