Bosch considering offer for Whirlpool

June 26 (Reuters) – German engineering group Robert Bosch is weighing a bid for U.S. appliances manufacturer Whirlpool (WHR.N), according to three people familiar with the matter, a move that would boost its position in the household appliances market.

Bosch has been talking to potential advisers about the possibility of making an offer for Whirlpool, which has a market capitalization of about $4.8 billion, one of the sources said.

The sources said it was not certain that an offer would be made, and asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential.

Spokespeople for Bosch and Whirlpool said the companies do not comment on “market rumours”. The U.S. company’s shares rose 12.7% in early trading after the Reuters report.

Buying one of the world’s biggest white-goods manufacturers would significantly beef up Bosch’s home appliance business at a time when competition with Asian rivals is growing.

Whirlpool would be a major deal for Bosch. Whirlpool’s brands include KitchenAid, Maytag, Amana, Jenn-Air, and Consul.

Whirlpool, founded in 1911 in Benton Harbor, Michigan, produces a wide range of home appliances, including refrigerators, microwaves, washing machines, dryers and small kitchen appliances.

Whirlpool has a manufacturing facility in Findlay. For more than 50 years, its Findlay Operation has been producing dishwashers for a number of brands. The plant holds the honor of being the first one built by Whirlpool Corporation, as well as the first plant to utilize wind power. With more than 2,600 employees, it’s one of the top employers in Hancock County.