Investment firm takes CDW private

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Technology products and services direct marketer CDW Corp. has signed a definitive merger agreement to be acquired by private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners LLC for about $7.3 billion.

Founded in 1984, CDW sells many leading technology brands to businesses, government and education customers through several Web sites and catalogs. Sales in the first quarter of 2007 totaled $1.859 billion, an increase of 17 percent over the same period last year.

Under the agreement with Madison Dearborn, Chicago, CDW shareholders will receive $87.75 in cash for each share of CDW common stock they hold, representing a premium of about 16.1 percent over CDW's closing share price on May 25, the last trading day before published reports about a potential deal.

In February, Madison Dearborn closed a deal to acquire multichannel merchant The Yankee Candle Company. The firm's other investments have included XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. and Boise Cascade Holdings LLC.

This deal has been approved by CDW's board of directors and is expected to close near the end of the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter.

Catalogs are one of CDW's main advertising vehicles. Many of its titles include articles about technology developments and interviews with industry executives. The titles include Small Business, Medium/Large Business, Digital Flow, NetComm Solutions, Mobile & Wireless, Software and Data Storage.

Vernon Hills, IL-based CDW also operates several Web sites, including CDW.com, CDWG.com and CDW.ca. It also offers customized extranets called CDW@Work and CDWG@Work where customers can view order and shipping status, payment details, purchase history and details about their dedicated account team.

In 2006, 29 percent of CDW's total sales came from its various Web sites for a total of $1.982 billion.

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