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Legrand launches IPO on French exchange

Legrand stock started trading on the Euronext Paris exchange April 7 at approximately $24.75 per share, generating more demand than expected.

The owners of French industrial conglomerate Legrand, parent of Legrand North America, hope to raise about $1.2 billion through the IPO. The company is valued at about $6.7 billion, excluding debt.

Based in Limoges, France, Legrand is owned by investment bankers Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) and Wendel Investissement. These investment banking firms will retain a majority stake after the public offering for a 20-percent stake in the company. KKR and Wendel, the principal shareholders, have agreed to stay on for at least another 14 months before selling any additional shares.

Legrand is known in North America for its stable of well-known electrical brands, including Pass & Seymour, Wiremold, Watt Stopper and Ortronics.

KKR and Wendel each acquired a 37.4 percent stake in Legrand in December 2002. That was after French electrical equipment maker Schneider Electric SA, which had bought the company two years earlier, was forced by the European Commission to sell it due to antitrust objections.

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