3M to invest $2.5B in tower safety industry

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3M is investing big money in the future of the climber safety industry with a $2.5 billion agreement to acquire fall-protection equipment maker Capital Safety from global investment firm KKR.

This is a strategic move for 3M, which believes increased regulatory focus on tower worker safety in both developed and undeveloped countries will push the growth of the industry.

“Personal safety is a large and strategically important growth business in the 3M portfolio,” said Inge Thulin, chairman, president and CEO at 3M. “The acquisition of Capital Safety bolsters our personal safety platform and will build on our fundamental strengths in technology, manufacturing, global capabilities and brand.”

Capital Safety’s products include harnesses, lanyards and self-retracting lifelines that protect climbers from falls.

The Capital Safety acquisition will become part of 3M’s safety and graphics business group, which provides respiratory and hearing protection solutions, as well as reflective materials for high-visibility apparel and other protective clothing and eyewear.

“This is a great strategic fit and provides Capital Safety and its employees with a strong platform for future growth,” said Capital Safety CEO Stephen Oswald. “Each company also highly values innovation and this will enable us to drive further product development and provide a broader array of solutions to both Capital Safety and 3M customers.”

The acquisition is expected to be finalized at the close of the third quarter and includes the assumption of approximately $700 million of debt from KKR.

Capital Safety has approximately 1,500 employees worldwide. It made around $430 million in sales during the last fiscal year.

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Joey Jackson

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Joey Jackson is an editor and production manager at RCRWireless.com and RCRtv based in Austin, Texas. Before coming to RCR, Joey was a multimedia journalist for multiple TV news affiliates around the country. He is in charge of custom video production as well as the production of the "Digs," "Gigs," "How it works" and "Tower Stories" segments for RCRtv. He also writes daily about the latest developments in telecom and ICT news. An Oregon native, Joey graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in journalism and communications. He enjoys telling the stories of the people and companies that are shaping the landscape of the mobile world. Follow him on Twitter at @duck_jackson.