Ross will buy Collins & Aikman carpeting-acoustics unit

By From Automotive News| Apr 23 2007
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Investor Wilbur Ross has agreed to buy Collins & Aikman Corp.'s carpeting and acoustic materials business.

The New York billionaire is offering $134 million in cash, plus other undisclosed compensation and the assumption of certain liabilities. Cerberus Capital Management LP bowed out of the bidding after making a tentative agreement to buy the business.

The Ross agreement also provides senior lenders to Collins & Aikman an opportunity to invest in as much as 25 percent of International Automotive Components Group North America, the Ross business buying the soft-trim division. Collins & Aikman is being sold in pieces as part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.

The offer by Ross is for 16 plants in North America that employ 4,300 people. The annual sales of the operations are about $615 million.

The deal isn't final until the Bankruptcy Court approves it. Another bidder conceivably could come forward with a higher offer.

If the deal is approved, Ross' interests in 18 months will have accumulated automotive-related businesses with about $5 billion in annual revenue.

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