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Rural/Metro agrees to be bought

Rural/Metro Corp., the provider of ambulance and private fire services in 20 states, agreed to be bought by Warburg Pincus LLC in a $438 million cash acquisition.

Rural/Metro investors will receive $17.25 per share, a 37 percent premium over the March 25 closing price, the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company said Monday in a statement. The deal is expected to close by the end of June if approved by shareholders and regulators, Rural/Metro said.

New ownership will give Rural/Metro the resources and flexibility to pursue strategies to expand the company, Chief Executive Officer Michael DiMino said. Before today, Rural/Metro shares had fallen 14 percent since the beginning of the year. The company had 25.4 million shares outstanding as of Feb. 3.

"Following careful consideration and the examination of various methods to enhance shareholder value, the board of directors believes that now is an advantageous time for the company to move to the next stage of its development as a private company under the stewardship of Warburg Pincus," said Christopher Shackelton, the chairman of Rural/Metro, in the statement.

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