Schneider Electric and American Power Conversion (APC) have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Schneider Electric will acquire all outstanding shares of APC for $6.1bn.

According to APC, the merger will create an industry leading business for single-phase and three-phase uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems.

The transaction, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2007, is subject to approval by APC shareholders and other customary conditions.

The board of directors of APC has approved the transaction with Schneider Electric, and intends to recommend to APC's shareholders that they approve the transaction. APC's shareholders are expected to vote on the transaction in early 2007.

Jean-Pascal Tricoire, Chief Executive Officer of Schneider Electric, commented: ‘This acquisition is a significant strategic move for the company. It allows us to greatly strengthen Schneider Electric in the fastest growing segment of our core business: electrical distribution.’