US MILITARY truck specialist Oshkosh has made a surprise plunge into construction plant by buying access giant JLG for £1.7 billion.
The acquisition of the world's biggest access platform manufacturer will create a £3.2 billion turnover business.
But the speed of the deal has surprised many. One industry insider said: 'Often you hear rumours before you see anything in writing, but this one has come completely out of left field.'
The deal is also likely to lead to interesting discussions at fellow US giant Caterpillar, which has an agreement with JLG to build its telehandler range under licence. The insider said: 'It is one thing signing a deal with the leading niche market player, but it is quite another dealing with a big corporation.
'Even if Oshkosh takes a hands-off approach, it could see the decision-making taking longer. It is not exactly a rival to Cat, but it may give them pause for thought.'
Oshkosh chief executive Robert G Bohn said: 'We have consistently executed strategies to grow this company during the last decade. This offers us double digit growth opportunities, and the potential to make substantial purchasing and logistics synergies.'
JLG chief executive Bill Lasky said: 'Oshkosh has a similar philosophy to us and it offers additional growth opportunities for the JLG team.'