Aug. 17 -- STAMFORD -- United Rentals announced late Wednesday it would acquire Miami -based rental firm Neff Corp. for approximately $1.3 billion ., the second major acquisition of the year for the equipment-leasing giant.
Executives of United cited Neff's economies of scale and industry expertise as assets for the combined company. Neff represents one of the largest U.S. equipment-rental firms, with some 1,200 employees and a presence in 14 states. Focused on the Sun Belt region, the company offers earthmoving, material handling, aerial and other rental services to more than 15,500 construction and industrial customers.
"The acquisition of Neff is a significant opportunity for us to augment long-term returns for our investors and build value for our customers and employees," Michael Kneeland , United's president and CEO, said in a statement. "The strategic rationale passed every litmus test with flying colors."
Before signing the merger agreement with United, Neff terminated a previously announced merger deal with Baton Rouge, La. -based H&E Equipment Services , when it would not increase its $510 million offer for Neff, Louisiana newspaper The Advocate reported Wednesday.
Related to the move, United has paid H&E a termination fee of approximately $13.2 million on behalf of Neff, according to company officials.
The United-Neff deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2017.
" United Rentals is an industry leader in equipment rentals, and as a result of this transaction, our employees and customers will benefit from the combined company's expanded geographic footprint and diversified offering," Neff CEO Graham Hood said in a statement. "We look forward to working with the United Rentals management team as we bring these companies together and leverage the compatible strengths of both businesses."
In April, United completed the acquisition of Chicago -based NES Rentals Holdings for about $965 million . United officials positioned that deal as one that would increase the company's presence in regions including the East Coast , Midwest and along the Gulf of Mexico .
Stamford -based United describes itself as the largest equipment rental company in the world. The company's network covers 960 rental locations in 49 states and every Canadian province. Its approximately 13,700 employees serve a range of customers that include the construction, industrial, utilities and municipal sectors and homeowners. The company offers approximately 3,300 classes of equipment carrying a total original cost of $10.3 billion .
Shares of United were trading mid-Thursday afternoon at about $112 , up about 0.3 percent from their closing price Wednesday.
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