KKR & Co. L.P. (NYSE:KKR) announced its entrance into a definitive agreement to acquire landscaping company Brickman for $1.6 billion.

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KKR & Co. L.P. (NYSE:KKR) will acquire the leading provider of landscape maintenance and snow removal services company from Leonard Green & Partners, L.P. and other shareholders.

KKR acquisition expected to close by end of 2013

Global investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. LP’s North American Fund XI, and other funds and accounts managed by KKR & Co. L.P. (NYSE:KKR) made the purchase.

According to a statement, KKR member Simon Brown indicated that Brickman is a leader in its industry, with an outstanding management team, a distinguished culture, and talented and committed employees. Exuding confidence, KKR & Co. L.P. (NYSE:KKR) expressed its desire to work closely with the Brickman leadership team to continue to build on the company’s market-leading position and grow the business over time.

Brickman was founded in 1939 and is one of the largest landscaping companies in the U.S. with nearly 10,000 employees nationwide. The company serves a diversified base of over 10,000 clients, including some of the most well-respected companies and institutions in the U.S.

Other PE firms were in the fray

According to an earlier report from Reuters, The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX), TPG Capital LP and CVC Capital Partners Ltd were among the buyout firms vying for the largest U.S. commercial landscaping company

It was rumored Leonard Green & Partners LP, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm had asked Barclays PLC (NYSE:BCS) (LON:BARC) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) to run an auction for Brickman. Leonard Green took a majority stake in Brickman in January 2007 in a $847 million deal in which members of the Brickman family and the company’s management retained equity interests.

The sale process lasted for about two months as Leonard Green fielded offers from other suitors, according to a spokeswoman from Brickman.

Brickman’s confidence

Welcoming the deal, Andrew Kerin, Brickman’s chief executive, expressed happiness with KKR & Co. L.P. (NYSE:KKR) as they have extensive experience in service businesses with an outstanding track record. He stated that with KKR’s partnership, Brickman is well-positioned to accelerate its growth, as well as enhancing its quality of services and its leadership position.

While Brickman was advised by Barclays Capital, Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), Latham & Watkins, and Dechert, KKR & Co. L.P. (NYSE:KKR) was advised by Suisse Securities and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.