Eaton Corporation: Portfolio Transformation and The Cost of Capital
In 2000, Eaton Corporation was a broadly diversified industrial conglomerate. But its strategy was evolving and its focus was narrowing around "power management" and more recently on "intelligent power," the use of digitally enabled products and services designed to enhance efficiency and reliability. To implement this transition, Eaton had acquired more than 70 companies and divested another 50. Such active portfolio management required Eaton to regularly assess the prospects of each business unit-the profit and growth potential-and to explore opportunities to enhance its capabilities through acquisitions. In January 2020, Eaton got an offer from Danfoss, a Danish conglomerate, to buy its hydraulics business for $3.3 billion. Recently appointed CEO Craig Arnold must decide whether this deal makes sense strategically and financially. In particular, he must decide if $3.3 billion is a fair price for the firm's hydraulics business.