Peoria, Ill.-based Caterpillar will retain a 35% stake in the logistics business. The unit provides logistical services for about 50 industrial customers worldwide. It handles non-Caterpillar branded parts, such as FG Wilson and Perkins, as well as items from Caterpillar's Japanese operations.
Caterpillar considered the business to be noncore, said Caterpillar group president Stu Levenick in a statement.
The deal is expected to close in the third quarter, pending regulatory approval and consultation with labor officials.
"We are excited about this opportunity to partner with Platinum Equity. We are confident we have chosen the right partner to focus on the third-party logistics business and grow it to build long-term value," said Steve Larson, vice president of Caterpillar and chairman and president of Caterpillar Logistics, in a statement.
Caterpillar put the target on the block in March 2011, tapping Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Robert W. Baird & Co. to advise. It expected to make a sale by the end of that year, but a deal was hobbled by market uncertainty, according to company comments around that time.
Platinum Equity partner Jacob Kotzubei added in a statement that the deal expands on the Beverly Hills, Calif.-based firm's experience in operating logistics businesses. The firm owns four of these: trucking business Keen Transport Inc., marine transport service International Offshore Services LLC, barge service business American Commercial Lines LLC and air charter service Active Aero Group Inc.
Caterpillar has been steadily shedding assets since its $8.6 billion acquisition of mining-gear maker Bucyrus International Inc. in November, its largest deal ever.
After the deal, Caterpillar unloaded Bucyrus distribution arms that overlapped with its own. It sold Bucyrus' Australian assets to Malaysia's Sime Darby Bhd for $360 million on Dec. 14. About a month later, on Jan. 18, Caterpillar sold South American and Canadian distribution operations to Finning International Inc. for $465 million. On April 12, it sold another Australian distribution unit to that country's WesTrac Pty. Ltd. for $400 million.
The distribution arms sales, as well as Thursday's deal, are part of Caterpillar's attempt to build up capital after its largest acquisition.
Platinum Equity partner Mark Barnhill declined comment, as did Caterpillar spokeswoman Bridget Young.
Caterpillar has a market value of $62.7 billion. Its shares were down 26 cents, or 0.27%, to $95.73, Thursday afternoon.
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