China's Joyson Buys Air-Bag Maker Key Safety for $920 Million

  • Joyson paying cash in transaction expected during first half
  • Private-equity firms FountainVest, Crestview own Key Safety

Ningbo Joyson Electronic Corp., a Chinese supplier to several of the world’s largest automakers, will buy U.S. air-bag maker Key Safety Systems for $920 million.

The cash transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2016, closely held Key Safety said in a statement. The company’s owners include private-equity firms FountainVest Partners and Crestview Partners.

Key Safety has been expanding production of air bags and inflators amid an unprecedented safety crisis spurred by its Japanese rival Takata Corp. Key Safety said in May it was adding “millions of units” of new air-bag inflator capacity two years earlier than scheduled, with a ramp-up starting in December. The company also competes with Takata to supply seat belts and steering wheels and is developing autonomous-driving technology including collision-avoidance and parking-assistance systems.

Acquiring Key Safety will expand Joyson into a company with about $3 billion in annual sales. Joyson’s customers include Volkswagen AG, General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., BMW AG and Daimler AG, according to its website.

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