Deal with state clears the way for Hoover sale

The president of the company plans to visit the North Canton plant today.
COLUMBUS (AP) -- The state has dropped plans to challenge the sale of Whirlpool Corp.'s iconic Hoover vacuum business to a Hong Kong-based company, saying worries about a lack of competitiveness in the sweeper industry are no longer a concern.
A deal the state negotiated with Techtronic Industries Co. Ltd., the maker of Dirt Devil vacuums, clears the way for the sale's completion later this week. The company plans to move the new entity's headquarters to the Cleveland area as part of a new global research and development operation it has promised to build in the deal with the state announced Tuesday.
Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher said the company has pledged to bring 110 professional jobs to the new research facility in the next three years and to assume the union contract affecting 800 Hoover workers in North Canton, which expires next year.
Chris Gurreri, who will be president of TTI Floor Care, North America, said he has not yet been able to assess the Hoover facility because the two companies are competitors. He plans a visit today.
He said the combined companies will be the largest floor-care business on the continent.
"Putting the two brands [Dirt Devil and Hoover] together is a marketer's dream," Gurreri said at a news conference. "It's going to give us a platform to launch a series of new products and build an R and D center that will just knock your socks off."
The company will target its recruiting for the new positions on the campuses of Ohio State, Kent and Miami universities, he said.
Brian Laliberte, deputy first assistant attorney general, said the state concluded its antitrust review Monday and is now satisfied with the actions TTI has promised.
"Although Attorney General [Marc] Dann has some concerns about the transaction, it appears that it will have pro-competitive results at the end of the day and not the anti-competitive, anti-consumer results that we feared initially," he said.
The 107 million sale is expected to close today, the company announced. TTI said the deal also passed a federal antitrust review.
The plan is for The Hoover Co. to be combined with TTI's Dirt Devil and Royal operations in Glenwillow, about 20 miles southeast of Cleveland.
Benton Harbor, Mich.-based Whirlpool acquired Hoover in its 1.8 billion purchase last year of Maytag, which had been Hoover's parent company.

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