Home Depot completes $8.5B sale of HD Supply

ATLANTA - The Home Depot Inc., the world's largest home improvement store chain, said Thursday it has completed the $8.5 billion sale of its wholesale distribution business to a group of private equity firms.

The sale price was lowered from the $10.3 billion that the buyers had initially agreed in June to pay for HD Supply.

The completed agreement calls for Atlanta-based Home Depot to retain a 12.5 percent stake in HD Supply and to guarantee $1 billion of debt the buyers took on to complete the transaction.

Home Depot said earlier this week that it would pay $325 million for the equity stake.

Home Depot has said that it would use the proceeds from the sale of HD Supply to partly fund a buyback of up to $22.5 billion in company shares.

On Thursday, Home Depot said it remains committed to the stock buyback plan. It also reiterated that its tender offer to purchase up to 250 million shares of company stock at a price range of $37 a share to $42 a share expires Friday.

When the HD Supply deal was first announced, Home Depot said it would sell the unit for $10.3 billion to a group of private equity firms. But since then, as financial markets have faced turmoil, Home Depot had said it was talking with the buyers about restructuring the agreement, which it said could result in a lower price tag.

The talks were supposed to wrap up last Thursday, but continued until Sunday, when the terms of the deal were provided to several news organizations, including The Associated Press. Home Depot confirmed the terms of the deal on Tuesday.

Home Depot operates 2,200 stores in the United States, Canada, Mexico and China. HD Supply serves contractors, homebuilders and other business customers.

Home Depot shares rose 49 cents, or 1.3 percent, to close at $37.04 on Thursday.