updated 4/15/2005 6:41:17 PM ET 2005-04-15T22:41:17

Brookstone Inc., a retailer of high-end gadgets, on Friday said it agreed to be acquired by a group of investors comprising two Singapore companies and a domestic private equity firm for $20.50 per share, in a deal worth about $445 million.

Brookstone said the consortium is led by OSIM International, a Singapore-listed retailer of massage chairs and other health-focused products, JW Childs Associates LP of Boston, and Temasek Holdings Ltd., the investment arm of the Singapore government.

"The success of this transaction will depend on growing our business and not on eliminating jobs," Brookstone spokesman Robert Padgett said Friday.

The company's headquarters in Merrimack employs 225 people, he said.

Under the terms of the merger, each outstanding Brookstone common share will be converted into the right to receive $20.50 in cash. The offer price represents a 31 percent premium over Brookstone's Thursday closing stock price of $15.60.

In its last quarterly results, Brookstone said it had 21.1 million diluted shares outstanding, which would make the deal worth $432.6 million. But including options and restricted shares, the deal's total equity value is roughly $445 million, the company said.

The investors will also assume Brookstone's $8 million in debt, said Philip Roizin, Brookstone's executive vice president of finance.

Brookstone said the new investors will help it expand its brand globally, primarily in Asia. The company also said the merger will focus on expanding the business and not cut jobs, and current management will remain intact.

The retailer now operates 288 stores in the United States and Puerto Rico, mostly located in shopping malls and airports, as well as the Gardeners Eden retail chain.

Brookstone said it expects the deal to be completed in this year's second or third fiscal quarter. Its board, which will remain while the transaction is pending, has approved the transaction, the company said.

Temasek Holdings owns majority stakes in many Singaporean blue chips, as well as interests in many of Southeast Asia's largest companies. The Singapore Ministry of Finance is the company's single shareholder.

JW Childs Associates is focused on acquiring mid-size growth companies in the consumer products, healthcare and specialty retail industries. Its investment portfolio includes health-focused companies like Equinox Fitness Clubs and Fitness Quest, a distributor of home fitness equipment.

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