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Trane purchased in deal with Ingersoll Rand

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Truck refrigeration company Ingersoll Rand has announced it will acquire HVAC company Trane, formerly American Standard.

The transaction is valued at $10.1 billion, including fees and the assumption of approximately $150 million of net debt.

“Combining Trane and Ingersoll Rand’s climate control operation creates a very strong business,” said Fred Poses, Trane’s chairman and CEO. Poses will remain in his position until the completion of the acquisition, the companies said in a joint statement.

American Standard spun off its divisions this year, starting with its vehicle control systems business.

In October, investment firm Bain Capital Partners received a green light in its buyout of the bath and kitchen products business of American Standard. The investment firm purchased the American Standard assets for $1.76 billion. The purchase was cleared this week by the European Union’s merger review commission.

Ingersoll’s purchase agreement for Trane’s approximately 200 million common shares was valued at $36.50 per share.

The company said the transaction will create a global diversified industrial company with expected 2008 revenues of $17 billion.

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November housing starts show sharp decline

BY HBSDEALER Staff

November housing starts declined 3.7 percent from last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,187,000, compared to the revised October estimate of 1,232,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The figure represents a 24.2 percent drop from November 2006.

The hardest-hit region was the West, which showed a 28.3 percent decline year over year. That compared to declines of 27.4 percent in the South, 16.3 percent in the Northeast and 11.0 percent in the Midwest. The only positive regional numbers came in the South, where total starts increased 0.3 percent over last month, and single-unit starts increased 5.4 percent over last month.

Housing units authorized by building permits in November declined 24.6 percent year over year to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,152,000. This is 1.5 percent below the revised October rate of 1,170,000.

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Home Depot meets YouTube in viral marketing push – UPDATED

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Home Depot concluded a unique Internet-based promotion this week, tapping user-generated content to promote DIY goods and services consumers can find at Home Depot stores.

The page drew 264 video entries for a chance to win a $25,000 Home Depot holiday gift card. Twenty second-prize winners will receive a $200 gift card.

The promotion also received significant consumer news coverage across the country. Additionally, as of Dec. 12, the consumer-produced YouTube videos had collectively been watched 80,000 times.

The winning video, titled “The Long’s Rap,” featured a Houston, Texas family rapping about the retailer, with lines such as “Home Depot – it’s orange not yellow.” Second place winners included titles such as “The Home Depoverture” and “Angelos and Jason’s Ho, Ho, Home Depot Contest.”

This is Home Depot’s first attempt at a YouTube-based viral marketing campaign.  To view the video entries visit www.homedepot.com/youtube.

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