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Exclusive: KKR nears $1 billion Crosby Group deal - sources

By Greg Roumeliotis and Soyoung Kim

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Private equity firm KKR & Co LP is nearing a deal to acquire lifting equipment company Crosby Group LLC for around $1 billion, two people familiar with the matter said on Sunday.

A deal for Crosby, a unit of British engineering company Melrose Industries Plc , is close to being finalized and could be announced on Monday or even earlier, the people said on condition of anonymity because the talks are confidential.

"As previously announced, the Crosby sale process is under way and we remain in discussion with a number of interested parties," a Melrose spokeswoman said in response to a request for a comment.

Representatives for KKR did not immediately respond to requests for a comment.

Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Crosby, which makes lifting fittings and blocks for the oil and gas, construction and mining sectors, has been working with JPMorgan Chase on the sale, people familiar with the matter said in July.

Crosby had attracted offers from other private equity firms, including Warburg Pincus LLC and CCMP Capital LP, as well as industrial product makers such as Columbus McKinnon Corp , people familiar with the matter said last week.

In June, Melrose agreed to sell its generators and electric motors unit Marelli Motors to another private equity firm, Carlyle Group LP , for $287 million (212 million euros).

Melrose itself follows a private equity-type model of investing in companies, improving their performance and then selling them. It acquired Crosby in 2008 as part of its $1.6 billion (1 billion pound) takeover of engineering conglomerate FKI Plc.

In August, Melrose said first-half revenue more than doubled due to its $2.3 billion acquisition of Elster Group SE, which makes meters for measuring gas, water and electricity consumption.

Crosby would be the second major industrial deal for KKR this year. In March, New York-based KKR agreed to buy pumps and compressors maker Gardner Denver Inc for $3.9 billion, a deal that closed in July.

(Reporting by Sharon Begley; Editing by Maureen Bavdek)

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