Platform Acquisition Holdings Ltd., the investment company founded by Martin E. Franklin, agreed to buy closely held MacDermid Group Inc. in a deal valued at $1.8 billion in what it said will be the first in a series of specialty-chemical acquisitions.

The transaction should close this month, after which Platform plans to moves its shares from the London Stock Exchange to the New York Stock Exchange by year-end, the Tortola, British Virgin Islands-based company said yesterday in a statement. It also plans to rename itself Platform Specialty Products Corp.

Franklin, who is also Platform’s chairman, plans to “build a portfolio of market-leading specialty chemicals businesses,” he said in the statement. MacDermid, which had sales of $742 million in the most recent 12 months, will continue to operate under current management as a standalone business, Platform said.

“MacDermid is a natural choice to serve as the initial investment and foundation for Platform Specialty Products,” Franklin said.

British-born Franklin and investor Nicolas Bergruen listed Platform in London earlier this year, attracting Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management and Blackrock Inc. as investors with its aim of targeting niche businesses for as much as $2.5 billion.

The transaction is expected to be funded through proceeds from Platform’s previously completed initial public offering, an amendment of MacDermid’s existing first lien term debt and proceeds from a warrant exchange offer to be carried out by Platform, Platform said.

Barclays Plc acted as financial adviser and Greenberg Traurig LP acted as legal adviser to Platform. Lazard Ltd. acted as financial adviser to MacDermid.

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