One of Britain’s oldest lock makers could be about to change hands for more than £2billion. City sources said Chubb Fire & Safety was being prepared for sale by its US owner Carrier Global Corporation. Financiers from Bank of America are said to be working with Carrier, whose market capitalisation stands at $35 billion (£25billion), on a possible sale of Chubb.
The firm was set up by Charles and Jeremiah Chubb in 1818, when the brothers patented the ‘detector lock’, which jams shut if someone tries to pick it. The lock’s popularity grew rapidly as the Industrial Revolution saw huge growth in cities but also a rise in crime.
Chubb opened a factory in Wolverhampton and started making wrought iron doors and burglar resistant safes too. It continued to perform well amid growing demand for security, and in 1964 expanded into fire safety by acquiring Read & Campbell, the inventor of pressurised fire extinguishers.
Since then, the company has grown further and now has operations across the world, including Australia, Thailand and India. Chubb is expected to draw interest from some of Europe’s largest private equity firms. Two years ago Carrier’s former parent, United Technologies Corporation, tried to sell Chubb. Reports suggested buyout firms including Apax, PAI Partners and Eurazeo showed an interest. But United Technologies opted against a sale after failing to get offers at a high enough price.