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Harman audio buyout collapses

Sept. 22, 2007 at 8:29 AM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- The collapse of an $8 billion buyout of Harman International Industries could set a precedent for other private-equity firms to bail out of deals, analysts said.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Goldman Sachs agreed to pay a $225 million termination fee to walk away from the Washington D.C.-based audio-equipment maker, The Washington Post reported Saturday.

As the first major private deal to fall apart since the current credit turmoil began, the breakup may encourage other equity firms to bail out of deals that have become less profitable because of the rising cost of financing, analysts told The Post.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Goldman Sachs accused Harman of breaching a clause in the contract, which Harman denied, The Post reported. Neither side elaborated.

Harman's stock plunged 24 percent in regular trading Friday and dropped another 3 percent after hours.

Sidney Harman, 88, and the husband of Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., in the last 50 years has built his company into a multibillion-dollar manufacturer of high-end audio names like JBL, Harman Kardon and Infinity.

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