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  • Middleby Corp. purchases former competitor Blodgett

ELGIN, Ill. -- The Middleby Corporation (NASDAQ: MIDD) has agreed to purchase Maytag Corporation's (NYSE: MYG) Blodgett commercial cooking products business for $80 million in cash and $15 million in notes according to a joint announcement today by both firms. The sale, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year. Middleby's financing for the purchase will be led by Bank of America.

Maytag announced in May it would explore the sale of Blodgett, which manufactures commercial cooking products under the Blodgett, Pitco Frialator, Magikitch'n and Blodgett Combi brands. Maytag acquired Blodgett in 1997 for about $148 million, and last year Blodgett's net sales were approximately $135 million. Jade Products, another Maytag commercial cooking products business, is not part of the Blodgett sale.

The Middleby Corporation is a global supplier of equipment to the foodservice industry with net sales of $127 million in 2000. Its leading brands include Middleby Marshall, Southbend, and Toastmaster. Middleby is uniquely positioned to support the global expansion of foodservice concepts through its wholly owned international distribution and service subsidiary, Middleby Worldwide and its Asian manufacturing operation, Middleby Philippines Corporation.

Commenting on the pending sale, Maytag Chairman and CEO Ralph F. Hake said, "Blodgett is a fine company, with strong products and brands. Earlier this year, Maytag decided its strategies for growth should be focused on its core home appliance and vending businesses. That meant Blodgett's opportunity for growth would be best-served by being part of a company that has a proven track record of success in the commercial foodservice industry. I agree with that strategic perspective, and we are pleased that The Middleby Corporation has agreed to purchase our Blodgett business."

Selim A. Bassoul, President and CEO of Middleby further commented, "We are very excited about the announcement of this acquisition. Like Middleby, Blodgett is a leader in the industry and the combined entity provides for an excellent strategic fit. The merging of the two companies creates an extremely strong combination of complimentary products with industry leading brands in all major segments of the commercial cooking equipment industry."

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