Exclusive: Cooper-Standard weighs merger with TI Automotive - sources

Tue Feb 25, 2014 6:20pm EST
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By Soyoung Kim

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Cooper-Standard Holdings Inc (CPS.N: Quote) is weighing a merger with rival TI Automotive, looking to combine the world's two largest suppliers of fluid systems for cars and trucks, according to people familiar with the matter.

Cooper-Standard is working with financial and legal advisers to evaluate a takeover bid for TI Automotive and recently approached its rival, which has been looking for a buyer in the past several months, the people said.

A deal with TI Automotive, which is about the same size as Cooper-Standard with annual sales of about $3 billion, would be a big bite for Cooper-Standard, which has a market value of just over $750 million and an enterprise value of around $1.4 billion including debt.

Privately-held TI Automotive, meanwhile, is estimated to have an enterprise value of more than $2 billion, people familiar with the matter have previously said.

The companies, both controlled by a group of hedge funds after going through debt restructurings during the financial crisis, have yet to enter merger discussions and there is no guarantee a deal would materialize, the people cautioned.

The people asked not to be named because the matter is not public. Representatives for Cooper-Standard did not respond to requests for comment, while TI Automotive declined to comment.

Cooper-Standard unsuccessfully tried to sell itself in 2011, a year after coming out of bankruptcy under the control of a handful of hedge funds, including Silver Point Capital and Oak Hill Advisors.

Cooper-Standard's interest also would further complicate an auction process for TI Automotive that has been dragging out due to the complex ownership and disagreements over valuation.   Continued...