GLENVIEW, Ill. (AP) — Illinois Tool Works will attempt to sell its industrial packaging business by the middle of next year.

The company had said in February that it was reviewing its options for the business, which had revenue last year of $2.4 billion.

The decision to sell was based on the "underlying value of the business, the level of preliminary interest from potential buyers and a favorable debt market," the company said Tuesday.

ITW is trying to narrow its focus, said CEO E. Scott Santi.

Proceeds from the sale will be used as part of a program to buy back about 50 million company shares.

The business will be classified as a discontinued operation as of the third quarter. It had previously expected to earn $1.06 to $1.16 per share for the quarter, and $4.10 to $4.30 per share for the year.

After removing the packaging division as well as taking a 9-cent-per-share charge for foreign earnings, it now expects adjusted earnings of 84 cents to 92 cents per share for the quarter, and $3.50 to $3.66 per share for the year.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet had been expecting a third-quarter profit of $1.11 per share, and a full-year profit of $4.20 per share.

Shares of Illinois Tool Works Inc., based in Glenview, Ill., rose 78 cents to $77.01.