Ashland Inc. today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to sell Ashland Water Technologies to a fund managed by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice in a transaction valued at approximately $ 1.8 billion. The transaction is expected to close by the end of Ashland’s fiscal year on September 30, 2014. The company expects net proceeds from the sale to total approximately $ 1.4 billion, which primarily will be used to return capital to shareholders in the form of share repurchases. In keeping with this intent, Ashland’s board of directors has authorized a $ 1.35 billion common stock repurchase program, effective immediately. This new authorization replaces Ashland’s previous $600 million buyback program, which had approximately $ 450 million remaining. The new repurchase program will expire December 31, 2015.