Aga Rangemaster has agreed to be bought by a USA company in a deal that puts a brand synonymous with the British rural middle class in the hands of a foreign owner after more than 80 years.
Aga, the iconic stove-maker long associated with British country life, is to have a new home across the pond after agreeing to a £129m takeover by an American rival.
Middleby moved to allay concerns over the future of Aga’s UK manufacturing operations, saying it “recognises the importance of Aga’s presence in the United Kingdom and intends to maintain Aga’s manufacturing operations in the UK”. The ovens are now built in Coalbrookdale, Shropshire.
Middleby said the deal will expand its range of premium kitchen appliances by adding the AGA, Rangemaster, La Cornue and Marvel lines to its portfolio.
Middleby is paying 185p a share for Aga, which is a 77% premium over the price the day before it revealed the bid approach last month.
The Aga cooker was invented by the Swedish physicist Gustaf Dalen in 1922.
“Aga will be the European platform for Middleby and our cookers will be sold through Middleby distribution channels, which will increase growth rates in North America and in other worldwide markets”, said William McGrath, Aga chief executive.
AGA chairman John Coleman said: “The board of AGA has been assessing the development opportunities for the business for some time and in January 2015 appointed Rothschild to help in the process. We will have more capacity within the Aga and Rangemaster businesses to ensure the business thrive and get that growth”.
Aga posted pre-tax profits of £700,000 for 2014, down from £1.1m in 2013, as revenues rose to £261.5m from £250.4m.
It launched formally in Beijing in March.