TI Automotive, Bain Said Near Deal a Year After Failed Effort

TI Automotive, the auto fuel-systems maker that came close to a deal with Bain Capital Partners LLC last year, is again near an agreement to sell itself to the private equity firm, people with knowledge of the matter said.

A transaction valuing TI at more than the $2 billion discussed last year may be reached in the next two weeks, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. Shareholders would then have to vote, the people said. Talks may still fall apart and there’s no guarantee a deal will be reached.

A year ago, TI, which is owned by several hedge funds including Oaktree Capital Group LLC, delayed a vote on a $2 billion sale to Bain in order to review a rival bid from Pamplona Capital Management LP, people familiar with the situation said then. That delay was the latest twist in months of sale talks between TI and Bain and effectively scuppered the bid. The challenge to completing a sale is getting all of the owners to agree on a price, two of the people said.

Frank Buscemi, a spokesman for TI, declined to comment, as did a spokesman for Oaktree. Charlyn Lusk, a spokeswoman for Boston-based Bain, also declined to comment. The Telegraph reported Jan. 4 that Bain and TI had resumed talks.

TI, which once supplied fuel lines to Ford Motor Co.’s Model T, traces its roots to 1919. The company, chartered in Britain and headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, was bought by a group of funds led by Oaktree and Duquesne Capital Management LLC in a 2007 debt restructuring.

It generated about $3 billion in revenue in 2013, with more than one-fourth coming from North America. It has about $400 million in annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, people familiar with the situation have said.

Bain manages about $80 billion in assets, according to its website. Its investments include Texas-based specialty retailer Michaels Stores Inc. and German auto-parts maker FTE Automotive GmbH.

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